Support this bill upping the penalty for child porn offenders | Opinion

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By Dave Arnold

I’ve been in law enforcement for more than 18 years. I was elected District Attorney in Lebanon County and served in that capacity from January 1, 2006 through January 28, 2020, when I resigned to take office in the Pennsylvania Senate.

I now serve the constituents of the 48th Senatorial District (representing all of Lebanon County, lower Dauphin County, and northern York County).

Protecting victims of crime and holding criminals accountable is at the core of who I am. I have prosecuted murders, rapists, abusers and drug dealers. I’m not afraid to take on the criminals who commit some of the most abhorrent and disgusting acts in our society, especially those committed against our defenseless and vulnerable children.

That’s why I’ve wasted no time in introducing my first piece of legislation. My bill, SB1075, will enhance the criminal penalties for an individual who is convicted of possessing child pornography in which the person depicted is less than 6 years of age, or prepubescent. These criminals would receive a felony charge that is one grade higher than the current statute allows.

Pennsylvania state Sen. Mike Folmer resigns after child pornography charge

This would mean a felony of the third degree would become a felony of the second degree, and a felony of the second degree would become a felony of the first degree. Translation: More jail time.

This bill would also allow the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing to develop enhanced sentencing guidelines for sexual abuse crimes committed on minors when the abuser is known to the victim.

Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired of turning on the news and seeing stories of sexually abused children being exploited.

I urge you to contact your state representative and, in the case of the Senate, your state senator to support, and co-sponsor, this legislation. Senate Bill 1075 is for the kids. Let’s protect them before it’s too late.

State Sen. Dave Arnold, a Republican, represents the Lebanon County-based 48th Senate District, which includes all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York County. He is the former elected district attorney of Lebanon County. His former office is prosecuting the child pornography case against ex-Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, whom Arnold replaced. He writes from Harrisburg.