Feb. 28, 2014
State Senator Creigh Deeds is lending his voice to a new bill that he says could help save thousands of children, but is having trouble being signed into law.
The Senate unanimously voted to pass the bill which would allocate funds to support the expansion on the "Internet Crimes Against Children" (ICAC) task force, but it is currently stalled in the House of Delegates.
The proposed bill would not use an any tax-payer dollars. Instead it would raise an already existing court fee for convicted felons. The money would go toward the expansion of the task force.
"There are children being exploited today whose exploitation we could prevent if we just had the resources to put the law enforcement officers in the field and give them the tools necessary to crack down on these folks," said Sen. Deeds.
There are already two units of the ICAC task force in Virginia; one in Bedford and one in Fairfax County. The task force looks for online predators that produce child pornography.
"We've effectively been able to save thousands of kids. It's resulted in hundreds of investigations, hundreds of convictions, and kids are protected because we are able to put some of these offenders behind bars," Deeds said.
Senator Deeds says online child porn is so widespread that the current resources are not enough. However, opponents of the bill say the measure is unnecessary because the existing units are already able to work in other jurisdictions.
The bill is tied up in the House Appropriations Committee, but Deeds says he is willing to work out a compromise to get it to move forward.