Soapbox

Bill will undercut ability to investigate sexual predators

Jim Cooper
Jim Cooper pkitagaki@sacbee.com

For more than a decade, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has been effective in investigating and prosecuting sexual predators who target children through the use of the Internet and social media. Law enforcement has successfully used social media to investigate sexual predators while protecting the privacy rights of consumers.

As a former law enforcement officer with 30 years of experience and as the commander of the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force for three years, I have worked tirelessly to protect our children from sexual exploitation.

While well intentioned, Senate Bill 178 will negatively impact law enforcement’s ability to conduct investigations and to successfully prosecute predators for sexual crimes against children.

These criminal acts include the distribution of child pornography, luring children into performing sexual acts and human trafficking. This bill will severely limit the ability of law enforcement to investigate, apprehend and indict sexual predators and pedophiles, and creates “loopholes” to shield these suspects.

According to the Crimes Against Children Research Center, 28 percent of youths between the ages of 14 and 17 in the United States have been sexually victimized.

Privacy is of the utmost importance in the digital age, and while I strongly support an individual’s right to privacy, it should not be protected at the expense of our children.

As a father of four daughters, I, as any parent, would gladly relinquish my right to privacy if it meant they would be safe from sexual predators who profit from the exploitation of children. We have a responsibility to keep our children safe, and this bill will only make it more difficult.

Assemblyman Jim Cooper, D-Elk Grove, represents District 9.

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