Lawmakers Want Tougher Penalties for Child Sexual Abuse

Lawmakers in Michigan want to increase the penalties for those convicted of child sexual abuse, in particular those who have been charged with a child pornography related crime.

The proposed legislation would toughen the sentencing guidelines of those convicted of child pornography. The more images found stored on a computer, the longer the jail or prison sentence.

According to Children's Protective Services of the Michigan Department of Human Services, there were almost 29,640 cases of child abuse or neglect between October 1, 2007 and September 20, 2008. This indicates a 4.6 percent increase from the year before. Furthermore, the Michigan Children's Fund said it received more than 337 child abuse or neglect complaints EVERY DAY in 2008.

Another study by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children found that 40 percent of those arrested for child pornography had not only possessed child pornography, but had also sexually victimized the child, making them a dual offender.

The bill is pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

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