House Committee Approves Stronger Penalties for Sex Offenses Against Minors

WASHINGTON – Despite pointed criticism from some lawmakers, the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday approved a bipartisan bill that pushes for harsher penalties for people convicted of sex offenses against minors under 12 and authorizes millions of dollars to fight Internet crimes against children. Sponsored by committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the Child Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 6063) calls for $60 million a year until 2018 for task forces working to investigate Internet crimes against children. It also reinforces the need for the U.S. Justice Department to appoint a senior official as a national coordinator for child exploitation prevention and interdiction, a position first created by the PROTECT Our Children Act by Congress in 2008. In addition, the bill widens protections for child witnesses who may be subject to intimidation or harassment, doubles to $4 million the cap on funds available to train Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, and gives U.S. Marshals the power to issue administrative subpoenas to investigate unregistered sex offenders. Smith introduced similar legislation last year but it did not reach the full House floor for a vote.

Child Sex Crimes: New Arrests, More Money

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Decatur is getting a fresh infusion of money from the Justice Department to fight child prostitution and other forms of sex exploitation.  A 300- thousand dollar grant will go towards reaching children in trouble and arresting adults who exploit them, according to the Office of Justice Programs.

To emphasize the work that’s being done in the Atlanta area, federal prosecutors released new information about three men who were sentenced and four others arrested for child sex crimes, including these cases:

Former Baptist Minister Gregory Hunter, who got 18 years in prison for producing a pornographic webcast of a 9 year old girl. Former doctor Adam Lebowitz, convicted of child porn and trying to entice a child to have sex
Michael Young and James Lampru,arrested at hotels where they arranged to have sex with a 12-year-old girl

Earlier this week, a 280 page report from Attorney General Eric Holder detailed a national strategy to fight child sex exploitation. The GBI has received other grants to fight Atlanta’s child prostitution and pornography problems.  In 2009, the GBI got $1,438,937.00in Recovery Act funds for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  During the first half of last year, the ICAC made 96 arrests and helped local law enforcement with 60 cases. Read more:

Project Safe Childhood

Internet Crimes against Children Task Force

News Release from Department of Justice