Washington D.C. – The United States House of Representatives passed Rep. Mike Johnson’s (LA-04) legislation, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act (H.R. 1761), by a vote of 368-51 last week and will now head to the Senate.
“The Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act is just that – a common sense approach to better protect children from depraved sexual predators. I applaud the swift movement on this bill from the House and encourage my colleagues in the Senate to recognize the importance of this legislation and act accordingly. Those who sexually abuse defenseless children deserve the full measure of punishment by our justice system, and no loophole should be available to avoid that punishment.”
Rep. Johnson introduced this bill after a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed the conviction of a sexual predator because the court determined the perpetrator lacked “intent” to record images of the assault on his phone. In the case, United States v. Palomino-Coronado, the defendant admitted to sexually abusing a 7 year old child and memorializing the conduct, but escaped federal conviction because he supposedly lacked the requisite “purpose,” or specific intent, to take the photo. This outcome was a clear contradiction of Congress’ resolve to protect children and criminalize the production of all images of child sexual abuse. Rep. Johnson’s proposed legislation would close the loophole in existing law and ensure that child predators can no longer escape appropriate punishment by arguing such a technicality.
Support for H.R. 1761 included:
- National Fraternal Order of Police
- The National District Attorneys Association
- Major County Sheriffs of America
- National Association of Police Organizations