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Bill looks to update Colorado's child porn laws as a consequence of changing technologies

colorado capitol
Posted at 10:36 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 00:36:30-05

DENVER -- When technology advances, the laws need to catch up.

“We haven’t updated these last 15 years, now is the right time to do this. It’s all about protecting kids, that’s why its got bipartisan support,” Representative and bill co-sponsor Dylan Roberts, a Democrat who represents Eagle and Routt counties, said of HB20-1120.

The bill, officially titled, 'Enforcement Of Sexual Exploitation Of A Child,' would update the current law to update, "certain actions described as sexual exploitation of a child to reflect access and viewing due to evolving technology."

The language seeks to target those who abuse children over live streaming services or who transfer child pornography to the cloud, something Larimer Couty Deputy District Attorney Brian Hardouin is asking for.

“It’s going to be pretty substantial. We’re seeing so many more cases, we’re seeing these types of images or videos crossing about all sorts of new types of platforms that didn’t exist last time this bill was updated,” Hardouin said.

A prosecutor from the Colorado District Attorney's Office agreed.

“We don’t watch our videos on VHS anymore and we don’t trade in Polaroids, so this bill is really for the evolution of the way this time it (sexual exploitation) is committed,” Sexual Assault Resource Prosecutor from the Colorado DA’s office Amanda Gall said. “Last year, 45 million images of child pornography were detected online. That’s double the year before. So it is really something we have to confront on a state level."

Current laws are limiting in that primarily, sexually exploitative material refers to something you can physically hold. When the first bill was introduced, there was concern it was written too broadly, so a few amendments were added to change the language before going in front of the House Judiciary Committee.

The bill passed that committee unanimously and will now go before the House Finance Committee before it can get on the House floor.

The bill also makes sexual exploitation of a child an extraordinary risk crime, enhancing the presumptive sentencing range, if the sexually exploitative material depicts a child who is:

  • Under 12 years of age;
  • Subjected to the actual application of physical force or violence; or
  • Subject to sexual intercourse, sexual intrusion, or sadomasochism.

A link to the bill can be viewed here.