Utah moves to stiffen sentences for Internet predators

Using the Internet to solicit sex from minors could lead to life imprisonment under bill passed unanimously by Utah House.

A nationwide crackdown on Internet crimes continued in Utah, as the state House passed a bill that increases penalties for predators who use the Internet to find victims, The Deseret (UT) News reports.

Under current law, enticing a minor over the Internet with the intent to commit a first-degree felony is charged as a second-degree felony, which carries a sentence of one-to-15 years in prison. HB5 would make it a first-degree felony, punishable by three years-to-life in prison.

The bill also would prohibit state courts from granting probation or shortening or suspending prison sentences when criminal defendants have been previously convicted of specific sex crimes, such as rape, rape of a child, forcible sexual abuse or aggravated sexual assault.

The bill passed unanimously and moves to the State Senate.

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