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Legislators Sponsor Bill to Protect Children from Online Predators

Existing laws to ensure Oklahoma kids aren't subjected to lewd or indecent proposals will get a boost this legislative session, thanks to a bill co-authored by State Representative Scott Adkins, R-Broken Arrow and State Senator Jeff Rabon, D-Hugo.

House Bill 2349 would prohibit the use of an electronic device or computer to make inappropriate proposals to a child. The law currently prohibits lewd or indecent spoken or written proposals to children, but makes no mention of such proposals made through a computer.

Representative Adkins, who authored the Brandy Thurmond law that passed through the legislature last year, sees this legislation as another step towards securing the safety of Oklahomans.

"While the Internet has certainly provided a phenomenal link to the world, we must be careful of those who use those wonders of technology to harm children," said Representative Adkins. "Our children deserve to be protected from predators through their computers as much as they deserve to be protected from violence in schools and in their communities."

Under the proposed legislation, it would be considered criminal to look upon, touch, maul, or feel a child in an inappropriate way. Furthermore, it would prohibit an adult from asking, inviting, enticing, or persuading any child under sixteen to go alone with any person to a secluded, remote, or secret place with unlawful intent and purpose.

"Unfortunately, there are many people in society who prey on children, but this legislation will enforce the utmost seriousness of this offense," said Senator Rabon.

HB 2349 is very clear about punishment for those who prey on children. Offenders may be charged with a felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years. Repeat offenders would be subject to imprisonment for life, with or without parole.

"It sends a very strong and clear message that the innocence of children will be protected and offenders will not be tolerated," said Representative Adkins.

The bill is scheduled to be heard today in the Science & Technology committee at the State Capitol.

"It seems like every week we hear about another child who was lured away into a dangerous situation by an adult they met on the Internet," said Senator Rabon. "It's time to take action to protect children from the adults who prey on them through their computer."

Contact info
Senate Communications Division - (405) 521-5605