Thursday, October 9, 2008

PROTECT Our Children Act - Passed Congress

Legislation to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators makes a major step forward.

We first told you about senate bill 17-38 last month. It's now known as the 'PROTECT Our Children Act.'

The bill passed Congress, and now it's up to President Bush whether to sign it into law.

Callers from around the country recently flooded congressional offices demanding support of the PROTECT our Children Act. Many heard about it on Oprah, others on myspace blogs.

Knoxville native David Keith, actor and member of the National Association to Protect Children, says, "We are ecstatic we have had this victory in Congress."

Highlights of the passed bill include at least one Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in each state and more than tripling their funding, better information-sharing between law enforcement agencies, and expanding computer forensics labs dedicated to crimes against children.

It also requires new criminal penalties for live child abuse feeds and for grafting images of real children onto sexual images to create child porn.

Police say the resources to find more physical evidence in computers would help investigators save more children from abuse.

Kentucky State Police trooper Jody Sims says, "It would just allow them to be trained in different areas to kind of go outside the scope of what they do now. Sometimes you have victims who don't want to testify, and it would help to solidify those cases."

Opponents of the bill say it would lead to too much bureaucracy and not enough prosecutors to handle new cases.
Officials say the deadline for the president to sign the bill is October 12th.

Increased funding for the FBI and other agencies was cut from the original bill.

To learn more about the PROTECT Our Children Act, go to and search for senate bill 1738. You can also find an analysis of the bill at

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