Head_2013STATEHOUSE A bill authored by State Senator Randy Head (R-Logansport) to strengthen the penalties for people convicted of certain child exploitation and pornography crimes recently passed out of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law 7-0.

Senate Bill 14 would increase the offense of child exploitation, the technical term for producing child pornography, from a Level 5 felony to a Level 4 felony if the victim is under 12 years of age and engages in bestiality, is mentally disabled or deficient, participates by use of force or the threat of force, physically or verbally resists participating, or receives a bodily injury while participating in the acts.

It would also increases the offense of possession of child pornography to a Level 5 felony instead of a Level 6 felony if the offense depicts or describes sexual conduct by a child who the defendant knows is less than 12 years of age, or who appears to be less than 12 years of age under the same circumstances.

“Making and consuming any form of child pornography are terrible crimes, but we know there are some cases that are the worst of the worst,” Head said. “For example, under current law, a photo of a naked child, while awful, carries the same penalty as a video of a child being violently raped. This bill would provide tools to increase the penalties for cases where children are subjected to especially alarming and heinous experiences.”

Head added that this bill would also allow offenders to receive consecutive sentences on multiple counts, closing the loophole that exists under current law that lets offenders serve less time.

SB 14 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.