NH governor pushes anti-cybersex laws

Bid to toughen up laws against using internet for soliciting children under 16.

In the aftemath of the Mark Foley scandal, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, trotted out new protections for kids against cybersex as he stumps for re-election in November.

At a campaign event, Lynch called for a a law that imposes longer prison sentences on online sex offenders and child pornographers, the Concord Monitor reports.

The governor said the state needs to "toughen up" the sentences for predators who use the internet to find children. Current law sets a maximum prison sentence of 3½ to 7 years for using a computer to "solicit, lure or entice a child under 16." Repeat offenses carry the same penalty.

Lynch said the plan to improve internet safety was a natural extension of a law he signed earlier this year to lengthen prison sentences for sexual predators and people who assault children. That law, which Lynch helped develop and guide through the Legislature, also provided new tools to deter and prosecute offenses against children and to monitor offenders.

The governor denied the move was related to the Mark Foley scandal.