Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (10/09/1998)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Protection of Children From Predators

Title II: Protection of Children From Child Pornography

Title III: Sexual Abuse Prevention

Title IV: Prohibition on Transfer of Obscene Material to

Minors

Title V: Increased Penalties for Offenses Against Children

and For Repeat Offenders

Title VI: Criminal, Procedural, and Administrative Reforms

Title VII: Murder and Kidnapping Investigations

Title VIII: Restricted Access to Interactive Computer

Services

Title IX: Studies

Protection of Children From Sexual Predators Act of 1998 - Title I: Protection of Children From Predators - Amends the Federal criminal code to prohibit, and set penalties for, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly initiate the transmission of the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or electronic mail address of a person under age 16 with intent to entice, encourage, offer, or solicit any person to engage in illegal sexual activity.

(Sec. 102) Increases penalties for: (1) coercing or enticing an individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution or criminal sexual activity (and applies such penalties to attempting to do so); and (2) using any means of interstate or foreign commerce to coerce or entice any individual under age 18 to engage in such activity.

(Sec. 103) Increases penalties for: (1) transportation of minors with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity (and applies such penalties to attempting to do so); and (2) travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile.

(Sec. 104) Doubles the maximum term of imprisonment for a violation of provisions regarding transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity after a prior sex offense conviction.

(Sec. 105) Includes the production of child pornography within the definition of "sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense."

(Sec. 106) Modifies the general prohibition against transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes to increase penalties and to apply such penalties to attempting such transportation.

Title II: Protection of Children From Child Pornography - Provides for the prosecution of individuals for the production of child pornography if the visual depiction was produced with materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in interstate or foreign commerce, including by computer.

Increases penalties for distribution of child pornography or sexual exploitation of children after a previous conviction of transporting another person for illegal sexual activity and related crimes.

(Sec. 203) Applies code provisions prohibiting knowingly possessing material containing the visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct to the possession of one or more (currently, three or more) items of such material. Applies provisions prohibiting knowingly possessing child pornography to material containing an image (currently, three or more images) of child pornography. Makes it an affirmative defense to a charge of violating such prohibitions that the defendant: (1) possessed fewer than three such items or images; and (2) promptly and in good faith, without retaining or allowing any person other than a law enforcement agency to access any such visual depiction or image, took reasonable steps to destroy it or reported the matter to a law enforcement agency and afforded that agency access to each such depiction or image.

Title III: Sexual Abuse Prevention - Doubles the maximum term of imprisonment for abusive sexual contact with an individual who has not attained age 12.

(Sec. 303) Replaces repeat offender provisions with a provision doubling the maximum term of imprisonment after a prior sex offense conviction.

Title IV: Prohibition on Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors - Prohibits and sets penalties for: (1) using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly transfer obscene matter to another individual known to be under age 16; and (2) attempting to do so.

Title V: Increased Penalties for Offenses Against Children and For Repeat Offenders - Provides that any person convicted of a Federal offense that is a serious violent felony or a violation constituting coercion or enticement to travel to engage in illegal sexual activity, transportation with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity or in a sexual act with a juvenile, or sexual exploitation of a child, shall, unless the death sentence is imposed, be sentenced to life imprisonment if the victim is under age 14 and dies as a result of the offense, provided the defendant, in the course of the offense, engaged in specified conduct for which the death penalty would be imposed. Authorizes the court to impose any lesser sentence that is authorized by law to take into account any substantial assistance provided by the defendant in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense, or for other good cause.

(Sec. 502) Directs the United States Sentencing Commission to review and amend the Federal sentencing guidelines to provide a sentencing enhancement for: (1) offenses involving transportation of minors for illegal sexual activity and related crimes; (2) use of a computer with the intent to entice, coerce, or facilitate the transport of a child to engage in prohibited sexual activity; (3) knowing misrepresentation with the intent to entice, coerce, or facilitate the transport of a child to engage in prohibited sexual activity; and (4) a pattern of activity of sexual exploitation of a minor.

(Sec. 506) Directs the Commission to: (1) review the guidelines relating to the distribution of pornography and the abuse of children; and (2) promulgate any necessary amendments to clarify that the term "distribution of pornography" applies to such distribution for monetary remuneration or for a nonpecuniary interest.

(Sec. 507) Directs the Commission, in carrying out this title, to: (1) ensure reasonable consistency with other guidelines; and (2) avoid duplicative punishment for substantially the same offense.

Title VI: Criminal, Procedural, and Administrative Reforms - Provides for pretrial detention of persons who commit specified Federal sex offenses involving transportation of a minor for illegal sexual activity.

(Sec. 602) Provides for criminal and civil forfeiture for specified offenses against minors.

(Sec. 604) Requires electronic communication service and remote computing service providers (providers) to report as soon as reasonably possible to law enforcement agencies designated by the Attorney General any knowledge of facts or circumstances from which a violation of specified offenses involving child pornography is apparent. Sets fines for initial and subsequent failures to make a required report.

Specifies that: (1) no provider or user of such a service shall be held liable for any action taken in good faith to comply with this section; (2) a report under this section may include information or material developed by such a service, but the Federal Government may not require the production of such information or material in that report; and (3) nothing in this section may be construed to require a provider to monitor any user, subscriber, or customer, or the content of any communication of any such person.

Sets forth conditions for and an exception to disclosure of information contained within reports.

(Sec. 605) Expands the number of sex crimes against minors for which the victim may seek a civil remedy for personal injuries.

(Sec. 606) Authorizes the Attorney General, in any investigation of alleged violations of provisions regarding child abuse and child sexual exploitation, to issue in writing and cause to be served a subpoena requiring: (1) a provider to disclose the name, address, local and long distance telephone toll billing record, telephone number or other subscriber number or identity, and length of service of a subscriber to or customer of such service and the types of services the subscriber utilized which may be relevant to an authorized law enforcement inquiry; or (2) a custodian of records to give testimony concerning the production and authentication of such records or information.

Sets forth provisions regarding payment of witness fees and applicable procedures for service and enforcement.

(Sec. 607) Amends the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (VCCLEA) to require the Director of the Bureau of Justice Assistance to carry out a Sex Offender Management Assistance Program (SOMA program) under which the Director shall award a grant to each eligible State to offset costs directly associated with complying with sexually violent offender registration requirements.

Requires each grant awarded to be: (1) distributed directly to the State for distribution to State and local entities; and (2) used for training, salaries, equipment, materials, and other costs directly associated with such compliance.

Sets forth eligibility requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Requires the Director to: (1) promulgate regulations; (2) study the feasibility of incorporating into the SOMA program certain training programs or technical assistance; and (3) conduct a study to assess the efficacy of the program and submit recommendations to the Congress.

Title VII: Murder and Kidnapping Investigations - Amends the Federal judicial code to authorize the Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate serial killings when requested by the head of a State or local law enforcement agency.

(Sec. 702) Amends the Federal criminal code to specify that: (1) the kidnapping offense applies regardless of whether the person was alive when transported across a State boundary if the person was alive when the transportation began; and (2) the fact that a presumption that a person has been transported in interstate or foreign commerce has not yet taken effect because 24 hours haven't passed since the abduction does not preclude a Federal investigation of a possible kidnapping before the 24-hour period has ended.

(Sec. 703) Directs the Attorney General to establish within the FBI the Morgan P. Hardiman Child Abduction and Serial Murder Investigative Resources Center to provide investigative support to assist Federal, State, and local authorities in matters involving child abductions, mysterious disappearance of children, child homicide, and serial murder across the country. Sets forth reporting requirements. Authorizes appropriations.

Repeals VCCLEA provisions establishing a Missing and Exploited Children's Task Force.

Title VIII: Restricted Access to Interactive Computer Services - Prohibits any Federal agency, officer, or employee from implementing or providing financial assistance to any Federal program or activity in which a Federal prisoner is allowed access to any electronic communication or remote computing service without the supervision of a Government official.

Urges State Governors, legislators, and prison administrators to prohibit unsupervised access to the Internet by State prisoners.

(Sec. 803) Directs the Attorney General to conduct, and report to the Congress on, a survey of the States to determine to what extent each State (including the District of Columbia) allows prisoners access to any interactive computer service and whether such access is supervised by a prison official.

Title IX: Studies - Directs the Attorney General to: (1) request that the National Academy of Sciences, acting through its National Research Council, enter into a contract to study computer-based technologies and other approaches to the problem of the availability of pornographic material to children on the Internet in order to develop possible amendments to Federal criminal law and other law enforcement techniques to respond to the problem; and (2) study existing State programs for informing the public about the presence of sexual predators released from prison and the feasibility of establishing a national hotline for parents to access an FBI database that tracks the location of convicted sexual predators. Sets forth reporting requirements.