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Senate bill would provide resources to combat child abuse

Sen. Dan Newberry Sen. Dan Newberry

The state Senate this week approved legislation that would strengthen the ability of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Child Abuse Response Team (CART) to combat child abuse.

Senate Bill 1002 would provide a funding mechanism for CART, and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. ICAC agents investigate technology-driven crimes against children including child pornography, child abuse and human trafficking.

Sen. Dan Newberry, author of the proposal, said the bill would provide law enforcement with the resources to protect children and prosecute some of the state’s worst offenders.

“As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to ensure the safety of our most vulnerable citizens, and guarantee that crimes against them are prosecuted efficiently,” said Newberry, R-Tulsa. “To do so, we must give law enforcement the resources and preventative tools they need. Crimes like this permanently impact the lives of far too many people. This bill will strengthen our ability to combat child abuse in Oklahoma.”

Newberry said he was motivated to file the proposal after learning about the shocking amount of uploading of child pornography being detected by the ICAC Task Force. ICAC agents report that as many as 1500 such crimes occur daily.

Newberry’s legislation states that any person convicted of a crime punishable by a fine of $25 or more, or by incarceration, will be ordered to pay a $10 fee. Funds collected through the fee would then be distributed to the Internet Crimes Against Children Prosecution Revolving Fund and the OSBI Revolving Fund for use by CART and the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit.

Approved by a vote of 46-0, the measure now advances to the House for consideration.

“I’m proud that my colleagues unanimously stood in support of this bill,” said Newberry. “This law would allow Oklahoma parents to rest easier, and make a difference in the lives of children who need help.”

Contact info
Sen. Newberry: (405) 521-5600