Children are among the most vulnerable and innocent among us and deserve the highest protection of the law. In past years, remarkable progress has been made in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting crimes against children. But more can and must be done to address crime, especially as predators exploit technological advances in order to hurt kids.
– Chairman Goodlatte
The Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017 (H.R. 1188): This bill, authored by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), reauthorizes the two primary programs of the Adam Walsh Act—the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and Sex Offender Management Assistance Program—for five years and makes targeted changes to make the system more efficient and just. These programs help prevent child abuse by ensuring the public has access to information on known sex offenders who may live in their neighborhood.
The Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017 (H.R. 695): Introduced by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Mike Bishop (R-Mich.), this bill ensures that youth-serving organizations have access to national background checks on prospective staff and volunteers through the FBI’s database. Currently, many youth-serving organizations only have access to state-level background check systems.
The Targeting Child Predators Act of 2017 (H.R. 883): This bill, authored by Representative Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), helps protect valuable information used to prosecute and convict child predators. Under current law, law enforcement is able to obtain the IP address of a suspected child predator and then subpoena Internet Service Providers for the user information attached to the IP address. The provider then may notify the user of the law enforcement inquiry, allowing the alleged child predator to destroy critical evidence. Under H.R. 883, Internet Service Providers must wait 180 days before notifying customers in child predator cases, where law enforcement has certified that such notification would endanger a person, cause the destruction of or tampering with evidence, cause flight from prosecution, or cause the intimidation of a potential witness.
The Strengthening Children’s Safety Act of 2017 (H.R. 1842): Authored by Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), this bill makes communities safer by enhancing penalties for sex offenders who fail to register in the national sex offender registry when they have a prior state conviction for a violent crime. It also ensures enhanced penalties for child exploitation crimes apply equally to all dangerous sex offenders.
The Global Child Protection Act (H.R. 1862): Authored by Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.), the legislation combats global sex tourism by closing loopholes that allow child predators to go unpunished for their abuse of children overseas. Specifically, the bill expands the conduct covered for child sexual exploitation cases that involve abuse occurring abroad to include sexual contact. It also broadens the offenses covered in the recidivist enhancement provisions in current law to protect the youngest of child victims.
The Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act (H.R. 1761): Authored by Representative Mike Johnson (R-La.), this bill protects child pornography victims by remedying a federal court ruling in United States v. Palomino-Coronado. This decision allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence that he had engaged in sexual abuse of a seven-year-old child, because the court found that he lacked the specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. To address this loophole in the law, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act adds additional bases of liability to the crime of child pornography production to prevent this heinous crime and bring criminals to justice.
The Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act (H.R 1973): Authored by Representative Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), this legislation requires prompt reporting of suspected cases of abuse, mandatory training, and implementation of policies and procedures for preventing, reporting, and addressing allegations of sexual abuse at amateur athletic governing bodies. It responds to recent allegations of sexual abuse made against personnel involved with USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming, and USA Taekwondo.
The Put Trafficking Victims First Act (H.R. 2473): Authored by Representative Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), this legislation, among other purposes, provides training to prosecutors on investigating and processing cases with a trauma-informed and victim-centered approach, and encourages states to provide appropriate services to victims of trafficking. The bill also calls for reports on the implementation of state safe harbor provisions and on how to improve mandatory restitution procedures for victims of trafficking in federal courts.
Following Committee approval of his bill, Congressman John Ratcliffe sat down with Crime Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy to discuss the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act.
After the Committee approved the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, Chairman Bob Goodlatte discussed the importance of this bill with its sponsor, Congressman Mike Johnson.
Children are the most vulnerable and innocent of victims. They are completely dependent on us. They merit the greatest protections our law allows, they merit the most severe form of punishment our law allows.