Bad News, Perverts: Watching Kiddie-Porn In New York Is Finally Going To Be Illegal
Sorry, perverts -- your days of legally "viewing" kiddie-porn in New York are coming to an end.
Believe it or not, "viewing" kiddie-porn currently isn't a crime in the Empire State -- thanks to a ruling last month by the New York State Court of Appeals, which determined that "viewing" kiddie-porn is perfectly legal because of a loophole in the law prohibiting child smut.
Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have come to an agreement on a bill that would close that loophole, the governor's office announced yesterday.
"Viewing child pornography is a despicable act," Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos says. "This legislation will help protect children by imposing tough new penalties on people who view or possess child pornography."
In May, the Court ruled that while possessing, producing, and distributing child erotica is illegal under the current law, "possessing" kiddie porn and viewing it on the Internet are not the same thing. In other words, just because you saw smut on the Internet doesn't mean it's in your possession, and therefore isn't illegal.
"Merely viewing Web images of child pornography does not, absent other proof, constitute either possession or procurement within the meaning of our Penal Law," Senior Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick wrote in the Court's ruling.
The ruling stems from the case of an assistant professor of public
administration at Marist College, James D. Kent, who in 2009 was
convicted of several kiddie porn-related crimes. Kent, who was sentenced
to three years in prison after more than a hundred images of kiddie
porn were found on his computer, claimed at his sentencing that (stop us
if you've heard this one before) the kiddie porn wasn't his, and that
someone at the college must have planted it on his computer.
Because of how the current law is written, the Court dismissed one of the two counts of promoting a sexual performance of a child and one of several counts of possession of child pornography on which Kent was convicted. Kent's (several) other convictions were upheld.
Despite the ruling, all of the judges agreed that kiddie porn is despicable, and invited state lawmakers to amend the law to close the loophole, which they were quick to do.
If the bill becomes law -- which it almost certainly will -- any individual who purposefully accesses a website with the intention of viewing kiddie-porn will be committing a class E felony.