National database of molesters, new penalties for kiddie porn

Bush signs law creating a Web database of child molesters, imposing strict penalties on those who download child porn images.

A new law, signed by President Bush today, creates a national website of child molesters and makes it a felony for those convicted of the crime to fail to provide their whereabouts, the Washington Post reports.

[The law] aims to help police find more than 100,000 sex offenders by creating the first national online listing available to the public and searchable by ZIP code. It also called for harsh federal punishment for sexually assaulting children, including the possibility of the death penalty when a victim is murdered.

In addition to creating the registry, the law requires investigators to do background checks on adoptive and foster parents before they are approved to take custody of a child. The national database is intended to give child protective services professionals better information.

Specifically, the law:

  • Establishes a comprehensive federal DNA database of material collected from convicted molesters, and procedures for the routine DNA collection and comparison to the database when someone has been convicted of such an offense.
  • Provides federal funding for states to track pedophiles using global positioning devices.
  • Allow victims of child abuse to sue their molesters.
  • Imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years for raping a child; a mandatory 10-year penalty for sex trafficking offenses involving children and for coercing child prostitution; and increases minimum sentences for molesters who travel between states.
The law also increases civil liabilities on consumers of child pornography. It raises the civil penalties from $50,000 to $150,000 for downloading child porn and allows adults who were photographed as children to recover damages from those who downloaded their images.

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