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May 27, 2011

CHILD PORN BILL CLEARS LEGISLATURE

Attorney General Madigan Urges Governor to Sign Bill to Strengthen, Speed Arrests of Child Porn Traffickers

Springfield — Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 1035, which enables law enforcement to more quickly apprehend child porn offenders and gives courts stronger sentencing options. The bill received unanimous concurrence in the Senate today.

The legislation, which Madigan’s office helped craft, authorizes prosecutors to issue administrative subpoenas for evidence in Internet-related child exploitation offenses. This change will significantly accelerate the time it takes to identify and arrest offenders, and it will greatly help law enforcement agencies in counties that don’t have sitting grand juries to more quickly track down child predators. The bill also extends prison time for offenders charged with multiple child porn offenses.

“Time is of the essence in tracking down these offenders,” Attorney General Madigan said. “This bill will greatly enhance law enforcement’s ability to apprehend individuals who exploit children.”

Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights) and Rep. Emily McAsey (D- Romeoville) sponsored the bill.

“Trafficking and possessing child porn creates real victims – innocent infants and children are subjected to the most disturbing acts of violence,” said Sen. Hutchinson. “As a mother, as well as a legislator, I am committed to doing all I can to see that those who commit crimes against children are quickly identified and pay a high price.”

“I too ask Governor Quinn to sign Senate Bill 1035,” said Rep. McAsey. “We cannot pass up this opportunity to assist law enforcement in getting these predators off the Internet and away from our children.”

Attorney General investigators track the trading of child pornography over the Internet by using IP addresses, which are unique identifiers that each computer is assigned when it accesses the Internet. Presented with a subpoena and an IP address by law enforcement, Internet service providers are required to turn over the names and addresses of account holders matched to the IP addresses.

But under current law, obtaining a subpoena through a grand jury can take an inordinate amount of time due to an often infrequent grand jury meeting schedule. In most Illinois counties, it can take as many as 60 days for investigators to learn the name and address of child pornographers and predators.

The bill also subjects child porn traffickers to more time behind bars when convicted of trafficking or possessing pornographic images of children. Under current Illinois law, an offender can possess thousands of images and videos of child pornography and be sentenced equally to an individual who possesses one image. Madigan said she crafted SB 1035 together with Sen. Hutchinson to address this issue, giving judges authority to impose consecutive instead of concurrent sentencing for multiple traffickers.

There is a direct correlation between individuals who possess, download and trade graphic images of child pornography and those who molest children. Forty percent of arrested child porn possessors were “dual offenders,” who sexually victimized children and possessed child pornography, with both crimes discovered in the same investigation.

In the summer of 2010, Attorney General Madigan’s office determined that there were approximately 8,000 Internet protocol (IP) addresses downloading or trading child pornography in Illinois. Madigan launched Operation Glass House to locate and arrest the worst child pornographers in Illinois.

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