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NJ Legislation To Crack Down On Kid Vids [AUDIO]

Patrick Deck is accused of videotaping boys in the shower at the “Land of Make Believe” amusement park in Hope, New Jersey.

Video Camera
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

State Senator Kevin O’Toole is demanding immediate action on his bill that would make it a third-degree crime to under any circumstances record a minor without parental consent. Under current invasion of privacy law, it is a third-degree crime to record minors’ private body parts or their engagement in an act of sexual penetration or contact. It is also a third-degree crime to distribute such recordings.

“Under no circumstances should any child be unknowingly videotaped, photographed or otherwise recorded without parental consent,” says O’Toole. “This legislation reflects our paramount responsibility as legislators to ensure the safest possible atmosphere for children and provides authorities with greater resources and prosecution power to protect our children.”

Under the provisions of O’Toole’s measure, it is a crime of the third degree if a person, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, photographs, films, videotapes, records or otherwise reproduces in any manner the image of a child, without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian and under circumstances in which a reasonable parent or guardian would not expect his child to be the subject of such reproduction. A “child” is defined as any person under the age of 18. A crime of the third degree is punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to five years, a fine of up to $15,000 or both.

Similar to the “video voyeurism” statute, the bill would provide for an affirmative defense to the crime if the actor posted or otherwise provided prior notice to the parent or guardian of his intent to engage in the conduct and he acted with a lawful purpose. The legislation would also provide an exception for retail merchants who record the activities of patrons in dressing rooms, provided that notice is given that persons may be observed while within the dressing room.

An exception is also provided with regard to a law enforcement officers engaged in the official performance of his duties. Such photographs may be disclosed to: (1) law enforcement officers in connection with a criminal prosecution; (2) pursuant to subpoena or court order for use in a legal proceeding; or (3) to a co-worker, manager or supervisor acting within the scope of his employment.

Deck faces three counts under the current invasion of privacy law and is also charged with carrying an illegal weapon.

“This alleged incident is a chilling account of possible dangers children face,” explains O’Toole. “People who even attempt to endanger the welfare of children must know that such despicable acts will be met with criminal charges and serious jail time.”

O’Toole first introduced his bill in January in response to an incident in Ringwood involving a man videotaping young girls at a swimming competition.

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