UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. 1086; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 42
(Senate - April 05, 2006)

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[Pages S2896-S2897]
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                   UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST--S. 1086

  Mr. FRIST. But before doing that, Mr. President, I ask unanimous 
consent that the Senate proceed to the immediate consideration of 
Calendar No. 251, S. 1086. I ask unanimous consent that the committee-
reported amendment be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be read a third 
time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and 
that any statements relating to the bill be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object, Mr. President, Senator 
Kennedy and other Senators have been told prior to this piece of 
legislation passing there would be a vote on hate crimes legislation 
that has been in this body for a long time.
  I would hope--and it is my understanding the chairman of the 
committee had worked this out with Senator Kennedy--we could, at an 
early date, I mean in a matter of hours, work this out. This sex 
offender registry is

[[Page S2897]]

an important piece of legislation. But also, as we have learned here in 
the Senate, people keeping their word is also important. I am confident 
it was some kind of a misunderstanding. I am hopeful that is the case. 
But until Senator Kennedy and others and Senator Specter work this out, 
I must object.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, just a moment of explanation because I 
think this bill is, in substance, broadly supported. I am disappointed 
to hear the objections tonight.
  Let me comment very briefly on the bill because it is an issue that I 
think this body does feel strongly about and that we need to move 
forward on because it can make a difference. This particular bill is 
child predator legislation, and we all need to be working together to 
keep our children safe from child predators. American families, as we 
all know, should not have to live in fear of sexual predators lurking 
in neighborhoods and enticing our children.
  In the last 24 hours, we have all seen--actually here in the Senate 
and in this town--we have learned some shocking and tragic news about 
the growing problem of online child pornography. The abuse of the 
Internet has really, unfortunately, become the gateway to more serious 
violent sex offenses against both children and adults.
  On Tuesday night, we learned of the arrest of another online child 
predator and the tragic plight of a child predator victim. The predator 
was an official from the Department of Homeland Security who was 
arrested for seducing a child over the Internet. Allegedly, this 
individual initiated a sexually explicit online chat with a detective 
posing as a 14-year-old girl. He allegedly described in graphic detail 
the sexual acts he wanted to perform with her and offered to exchange 
sexually explicit photos. Fortunately, law enforcement intercepted this 
individual before he could victimize an innocent child.
  But for too many innocent children, the child predators are not 
caught until it is too late. Yesterday we also heard from one of the 
victims: 19-year-old Justin Berry from California who courageously 
testified before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on 
sexual exploitation of children over the internet. For 5 five years, 
Justin was the victim of an online child pornography ring. At 13, this 
lonely teenager innocently hooked up a web camera to his computer, 
hoping to meet other teenagers online. Instead, he heard only from 
adult child predators who struck up friendly chats and offered him 
compliments and gifts. One day, one predator offered to pay him $50 to 
take off his shirt in front of the webcam. Eventually, these predators 
lured him into performing pornographic acts in front of the webcam for 
an audience that grew to more than 1,500 people who paid him hundreds 
of thousands of dollars.
  These shocking stories are not isolated incidents. They are 
symptomatic of a larger problem.
  I believe we should seize this opportunity to transform these 
tragedies into positive action.
  The bill I called up tonight--S. 1086, the Sex Offender Registration 
and Notification Act--would help protect our kids against child 
predators. It was introduced by Senator Hatch. It has 33 bipartisan 
cosponsors. It was reported unanimously by the Senate Judiciary 
Committee. It is supported by the Fraternal Order of Police, the 
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Boys and Girls 
Club of America, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, and 
the National District Attorneys Association. And it is supported by the 
families of child predator victims.
  Among its many provisions, the bill will create a national sex 
offender registry accessible on the Internet and searchable by zip 
code;
  Require convicted sex offenders to register, including child 
predators who use the Internet to commit a crime against a minor;
  Make failure to register a felony;
  Encourage information sharing among local, State and Federal law 
enforcement; and
  Toughen criminal penalties for violent crimes against children under 
12.
  Here in the Senate, we need to act to address this issue. In light of 
the events this week, we should not delay. We should act now before 
another innocent child becomes a victim of a child predator.
  It is an issue we do need to address, and I believe it will pass in 
an overwhelmingly bipartisan way. In light of the events of this week, 
we should not be delaying it any longer. I look forward to working with 
my colleagues on the other side in getting this bill passed as soon as 
possible.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, very briefly, if the distinguished majority 
leader will yield, Democrats support the concept of a national 
registry. It is important. But we also support the concept that people 
who are injured, maimed, or murdered as a result of hate crimes also 
deserve protection. We hope we can do all this at one time. I am 
hopeful and confident that can happen.

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