In an attempt to keep pervs from photographing and videotaping kids, New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it a third-degree crime — with a maximum of three to five years in prison — to take a picture of or videotape children when “a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction,” reports the New York Daily News. Of course, this is pretty vague, and, as the legal director of the New Jersey Chapter of the ACLU pointed out, could even be used against people taking photos of their own children and accidentally capturing other kids in the background.
Obviously, taking pervy photos or videos of kids is not okay. But as we saw in the instance of the YouTube kid who ended up sentenced to 60 days in jail over a prank in which he simply “appeared to sing a song about sex to a group of school kids” (not actually harming them in any way, or even exposing them to his musical stylings), people can get pretty angry over even an insinuated connection between sex and kids. Hence, the need for very specific legal language. Legislators seem to be aware of this:
State leaders admitted they needed to adjust the bill’s language to make it apply specifically to predators — and not mom and dads or professional photographers.
GOP Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande “suggested making it illegal to photograph a child’s genital area, even if he or she is clothed.”
That seems a good place to start, though obviously it’s addressing consequences rather than the root cause of the situation — it’s a fair bet to say that pedophiles know that what they’re doing is illegal already, in almost all cases.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 9, 2011