A Senate committee advanced legislation that closes a loophole in Indiana’s child pornography statute. The bill’s author, Rep. Tom Washburne (R-Inglefield) says it helps state law keep up with modern times.
Indiana law criminalizes those who possess child pornography. But Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says that creates a gap in the law, one that’s closed with legislation that would now make it a crime to view such material.
“That’s what this is intended to catch – the individuals who do not download and save the kiddie porn or the video, they just simply look at it,” Powell says.
But Indiana Public Defender Council executive director Larry Landis worries the bill’s specific language – “accesses with intent to view” – could ensnare someone who clinks a link intending to watch legal pornography.
“But what they see if a picture of somebody who is portrayed to be less than 18. That may not have been their intention at all but that’s what they get. They’ve accessed that site, thinking they’re doing what is a lawfully protected, constitutionally protected activity,” Landis says. “Now they’ve committed a criminal offense.”
While some committee members expressed concerns about the bill’s language in regards to Landis’ issue, the committee approved the bill 6 to 1.