DENVER – Attorney General Suthers today joined Gov. Owens at a Denver Boys & Girls Club as he signed HB-1011, which gives law enforcement additional tools to crack down on Internet predators. The legislation was the cornerstone of the Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative, launched last year on May 25, 2005, in recognition of National Missing Children’s Day.
“The statistics are frightening. One in five children who frequently uses the Internet has been solicited by a sexual predator. Parents make every effort to protect their kids but in the ever-changing world of the Internet, that can be difficult. That's why it's important for the state to help defend our children. This legislation will move Colorado into the 21st Century when it comes to protecting our kids,” Owens said.
“Today, we fulfilled a promise to enact tougher laws to stop Internet predators from targeting our kids,” said Attorney General Suthers. “I am thankful that the General Assembly recognized the need for harsher penalties for anyone who victimizes Colorado’s children.”
Also present at today’s bill signing were sponsors Sen. Paula Sandoval (D-Denver) and Rep. Bob McCluskey (R-Larimer), who were also in attendance at the launch of the Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative last May.
“Sen. Sandoval and Rep. McCluskey have been valuable partners in this initiative and as sponsors of this legislation have helped give law enforcement additional tools to identify and prosecute Internet predators,” said Suthers.
HB-1011 will further protect children from Internet predators by: 1) making it a felony to solicit a child for a face-to-face meeting – regardless of the purpose – if it is in connection with a conversation describing explicit sexual conduct, 2) making it a felony to sexually exploit a child online by use of items such as webcams, 3) requiring Internet Service Providers retain records for 90 days with the issuance of a court order and finally, 4) making the possession of twenty or more child pornography a class 4 felony.
In addition to his work on this legislation, Attorney General Suthers has spent the last year giving Internet safety presentations at Boys & Girls Clubs as well as several schools across Colorado. During these presentations, General Suthers demonstrates to parents, using software provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, how easily predators can target children.
“While these legislative changes will enhance our ability to catch online predators, prosecution is only half the battle,” said Attorney General Suthers. “Our best chance of protecting Colorado’s children is to teach them how to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.”
Attorney General Suthers also today unveiled an Internet safety brochure titled, “Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative: Protect Your Family on the Internet.” The brochure, which provides helpful tips to both parents and children, can be found online at: http://www.ago.state.co.us/pdf/safesurfingbroch.pdf
Additional information on the Attorney General’s Safe Surfing Initiative is available at: https://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/safe_surfing