Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/10/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 10, 2005                                                                                         
                           8:40 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 117                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the  admissibility into evidence of the prior                                                               
recorded statement of  a crime victim less than 16  years of age;                                                               
and  adding Rule  413,  Alaska Rules  of  Evidence, and  amending                                                               
Rules 402 and 403, Alaska Rules of Evidence."                                                                                   
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
SENATE BILL NO. 118                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to online enticement of minors."                                                                               
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 119                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to dissemination of indecent material to                                                                       
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 118                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ONLINE ENTICEMENT OF MINOR                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) FRENCH                                                                                                   
02/28/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/05       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/10/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: SB 119                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BAN ONLINE DIST. OF PORNOGRAPHY TO MINORS                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) FRENCH                                                                                                   
02/28/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/05       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/10/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Mr. Kevin Vandegriff, Detective                                                                                                 
Anchorage Police Department                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 118 and SB 119                                                                
Ms. Anne Carpeneti                                                                                                              
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 118 and SB 119                                                                           
Mr. Dave Parker, Detective Sergeant                                                                                             
Anchorage Police Department                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 119                                                                           
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:40:13 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gretchen Guess,  and Chair Ralph                                                               
               SB 118-ONLINE ENTICEMENT OF MINOR                                                                            
8:41:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  introduced SB  118 advising  it will  make online                                                               
enticement of  minors a  felony under Alaska  law. Along  with SB                                                               
119, the measure will help  protect Alaska's children from sexual                                                               
predators and  provide a  safety net for  those who  navigate the                                                               
Internet. Online victimization is one  of the worst byproducts of                                                               
the  age  of  the  Internet.  Research shows  that  one  in  five                                                               
children  have received  solicitation  over the  Internet in  the                                                               
last  year. While  current  statutes can  be  stretched to  allow                                                               
prosecution  of online  solicitation, the  better approach  is to                                                               
recognize  that  this new  form  of  criminality requires  a  new                                                               
8:42:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH added the basic outline of  SB 118 is to make it a                                                               
crime for  anyone 18 years or  older to knowingly use  a computer                                                               
to  entice, solicit  or encourage  a child  to engage  in an  act                                                               
described in AS 11.41.455.                                                                                                      
8:44:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  KEVIN  VANDEGRIFF,  detective, Anchorage  Police  Department                                                               
(APD),  testified he  has worked  for three  years in  the Crimes                                                               
Against  Children  unit   of  the  APD.  Alaska   does  not  have                                                               
legislation  to   address  Internet  solicitation   of  children.                                                               
Statistics show  crimes against children are  growing every year.                                                               
Reports of child  pornography have grown 40  percent between 2003                                                               
and 2004.  SB 118 allows  law enforcement to act  proactively and                                                               
seek out child predators.                                                                                                       
Federal statistics  show 55 percent  of prosecutions  from online                                                               
victimization of children occur  with reports coming from outside                                                               
complainants.  45  percent of  arrests  are  directly related  to                                                               
proactive   law   enforcement   efforts.  Efforts   include   law                                                               
enforcement  going online  in  an  undercover capacity,  entering                                                               
chat  rooms  and  meeting with  predators.  The  Internet  Crimes                                                               
Against Children  federal task forces train  investigators across                                                               
the  country, including  the FBI,  Immigration  and Customs,  and                                                               
state investigators.                                                                                                            
MR.  VANDEGRIFF advised  the committee  of  his recent  training,                                                               
which certifies investigators  to conduct standard investigations                                                               
that   will   pass   judicial  scrutiny   across   jurisdictional                                                               
8:48:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.   VANDEGRIFF  noted   due  to   excellent  training,   online                                                               
enticement prosecutions across the country  have resulted in a 95                                                               
percent  conviction  rate. The  reason  for  the success  is  the                                                               
abundance  of evidence  due to  the online  trail that  predators                                                               
leave. Search warrants conducted in  predators homes show over 60                                                               
percent  of  them have  large  collections  of child  pornography                                                               
stored on their  computers. Sexual predators use  the Internet to                                                               
target children. The most vulnerable  are between 12 and 15 years                                                               
of age.                                                                                                                         
MR.  VANDEGRIFF described  the  Internet  "chats" between  sexual                                                               
predators and  children as chilling. Predators  use psychological                                                               
tactics to entice emotionally vulnerable children.                                                                              
8:51:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  Mr.  Vandegriff   to  give  the  committee                                                               
comparative  numbers between  Alaska's high  incidence of  sexual                                                               
child abuse compared to other states.                                                                                           
MR. VANDEGRIFF  did not  have statistics  but would  research for                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Mr. Vandegriff where the  sexual abuse comes                                                               
from in the cases he has worked on.                                                                                             
MR. VANDEGRIFF  responded the  majority are  people known  to the                                                               
family members.                                                                                                                 
8:52:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS   asked  if  Internet  sexual   abuse  of  minors'                                                               
incidences is rising.                                                                                                           
MR.  VANDEGRIFF  replied  yes. Currently  only  federal  statutes                                                               
address those  crimes. The federal  government is limited  in the                                                               
number  of  cases they  can  prosecute  due to  the  overwhelming                                                               
number of  them. It  is a growing  problem, but  because children                                                               
usually don't  report the  incidences to  adults, the  problem is                                                               
larger  than  one can  tell.  Studies  show  only 10  percent  of                                                               
solicited children tell their parents.                                                                                          
8:53:59 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr. Vandegriff  to describe  any anticipated                                                               
increase in workload.                                                                                                           
MR.  VANDEGRIFF   informed  the  committee  the   workload  would                                                               
increase.  The  Anchorage Police  Department  does  not have  the                                                               
manpower  to address  the growing  problem. Currently,  educating                                                               
parents to restrict their children's  Internet use is a priority.                                                               
MR.  VANDEGRIFF  spoke  of  training  with  the  national  Crimes                                                               
Against Children  task force. As  part of the  training, officers                                                               
assume  the identity  of a  13-year-old female  and enter  online                                                               
chat rooms. He  spent time in an Alaskan chat  room and within 10                                                               
minutes was solicited for sex.                                                                                                  
8:56:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked Mr. Vandegriff  if he was  concerned about                                                               
getting evidence into court.                                                                                                    
MR.  VANDEGRIFF   answered  no.  Predators  leave   a  compelling                                                               
evidentiary  trail. Investigators  are  well  trained and  follow                                                               
strict protocol.                                                                                                                
8:58:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  asked if  pursuit  of  suspects is  done  under                                                               
federal statutes.                                                                                                               
MR. VANDEGRIFF  answered that Alaska  has state  pornography laws                                                               
but no  way to  prosecute offenders  who send  unsolicited sexual                                                               
pictures to children.                                                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a brief recess at 8:59:29 AM.                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS called the meeting back to order at 9:03:24 AM.                                                                 
MS. ANNE  CARPENETI, Department of  Law (DOL), offered  to answer                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  advised Ms. Carpeneti that  testimony shows Alaska                                                               
does not  have enough manpower  to investigate and  prosecute the                                                               
crimes that  would fall under  SB 118.  The fiscal notes  are all                                                               
zero  and indicate  the DOL  does not  anticipate fiscal  impact.                                                               
Proper procedure.                                                                                                               
MS.  CARPENETI said  the conduct  prohibited  in SB  118 is  also                                                               
prohibited in other  portions of the criminal code,  which is why                                                               
the  DOL  does  not  anticipate  additional  cases.  The  DOL  is                                                               
concerned with  the overlap  of sexual  abuse of  a minor  in the                                                               
first  degree  (SAM),  which prohibits  enticing  or  encouraging                                                               
sexual  penetration  with a  minor.  The  main offense  with  SAM                                                               
anticipates  the  actual  penetration  occurred and  that  is  an                                                               
unclassified felony. Solicitation for that  behavior is a class A                                                               
felony,  It is  the  same conduct  as defined  in  SB 118,  which                                                               
identifies it  as a class  C felony. That is  problematic because                                                               
the  defendant  can choose  to  be  prosecuted under  the  lesser                                                               
9:06:38 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS offered it was not intent of sponsor.                                                                             
MS. CARPENETI said SB 118  covers conduct that is already against                                                               
the law.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Ms. Carpeneti  how the  DOL would  amend SB                                                               
MS. CARPENETI said she had no solution yet.                                                                                     
SENATOR FRENCH  offered to work with  the DOL to amend  SB 118 to                                                               
fit within  the statutes. He asked  Ms. Carpeneti if the  DOL has                                                               
prosecuted online probation under the attempt portion of SAM 1.                                                                 
MS. CARPENETI answered she believed so.                                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS  clarified SAM  stands for sex  abuse of  minor and                                                               
there are several degrees in Alaska statutes.                                                                                   
9:08:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms. Carpeneti the  difference between sexual                                                               
assault and sexual abuse of a minor.                                                                                            
MS. CARPENETI  replied that sexual assault  covers non-consensual                                                               
sex. Sexual abuse  of a minor is perceived  as consensual because                                                               
the victim is too young to be expected to make the decision.                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms.  Carpeneti to work  with the  sponsor to                                                               
strengthen SB 118.                                                                                                              
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a short recess at 9:09:34 AM.                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS called the meeting back to order at 9:14:39 AM.                                                                 
        SB 119-BAN ONLINE DIST. OF PORNOGRAPHY TO MINORS                                                                    
9:14:39 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  introduced SB 119.  SB 119 would  make electronic                                                               
distribution  of  indecent materials  to  minors  a felony  under                                                               
Alaska law.  SB 119  will provide  a safety  net to  help protect                                                               
Alaska's children from sexual predators.                                                                                        
9:15:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS authorized Senator French to call the witnesses.                                                                  
MR. DAVE  PARKER, supervising  sergeant, crimes  against children                                                               
unit,  Anchorage Police  Department, testified  in support  of SB                                                               
119.  The Internet  has become  a candy  store for  perpetrators.                                                               
Online  victimization is  efficient for  perpetrators using  chat                                                               
rooms  and sending  pornography.  Alaska law  does not  currently                                                               
address  a  way  to  prosecute  distribution  of  pornography  to                                                               
9:18:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. VANDEGRIFF agreed with Mr.  Parker's comments and referred to                                                               
his online experience portraying the  role of a 13-year-old girl.                                                               
He added  it was amazing  how quickly predators sent  him digital                                                               
pornographic pictures.                                                                                                          
9:20:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ANNE CARPENETI said the DOL  supports SB 119 but is concerned                                                               
that it only prohibits providing  pornographic materials to young                                                               
people on  the Internet. It  is currently not illegal  to provide                                                               
pornographic material  in any  form in the  state of  Alaska. She                                                               
asked Senator  French his rationale  for distinguishing  one type                                                               
of distribution.                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH explained  that a home computer  is highly private                                                               
and pornographic  materials are delivered  to the child  in their                                                               
home. Online pornography differs  from other forms of pornography                                                               
because it is aimed specifically at children in their homes.                                                                    
9:22:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   GUESS  asked   Ms.  Carpeneti   about  material   given                                                               
specifically to a child.                                                                                                        
MS.  CARPENETI advised  it is  not currently  against the  law to                                                               
give pornographic material to a child.                                                                                          
SENATOR FRENCH  stated that SB  119 does aim at  something police                                                               
officers are currently seeing.                                                                                                  
9:23:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CARPENETI commented the  courts have interpreted pornographic                                                               
material  as  something that  is  not  protected by  the  privacy                                                               
9:25:47 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms. Carpeneti  if a  minor has the  right to                                                               
privacy to obtain objectionable material.                                                                                       
MS.  CARPENETI remarked  society adopts  law limiting  children's                                                               
rights in terms of sexual behavior in many ways.                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS pondered at what age  a person obtains the right to                                                               
privacy concerning objectionable material.                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH commented the age of consent in Alaska is 16.                                                                    
9:28:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  if pay  per view  X-rated television  would                                                               
violate SB 119.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH  admitted he contemplated an  amendment that would                                                               
add the  word "knowingly." To  violate SB 119 someone  would have                                                               
to knowingly distribute pornographic material to children.                                                                      
9:31:43 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CARPENETI advised  Senator French  SB 119  would need  to be                                                               
added to sex offender statutes.                                                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS agreed.                                                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Senator French  to collaborate with  the DOL                                                               
to make SB  119 conform to current statutes. SB  119 will be held                                                               
until the next committee meeting.                                                                                               
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 9:32:43 AM.                                                                            

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