Wanggaard Bills Protect Children and Families
Van, Rep. Joel Kleefisch and AG Brad Schimel at press conference for Alicia's Law
There are few issues more important than rescuing and protecting children. I think it is hard for many of us to believe that child pornography is a problem in our state, or that children are being victimized in our local communities. However, this is a serious problem that leads to repeated torture of Wisconsin children, and it is a problem we cannot ignore. To help combat these crimes, I authored several bills that will help protect children and families:
Alicia's Law (Senate Bill 546)
On Wednesday, one brave survivor stood up for other victims by testifying on this important bill. At age 13, Alicia Kozakiewicz met a "friend" online, and was abducted. She was taken across state lines and tortured and raped in a basement dungeon for four days and nights. The sadistic pedophile who abducted her streamed the footage online, and miraculously, agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force were able to identify her location and save her life. The heroes on the ICAC Force saved her life that day, and work tirelessly in our state to save others from this unthinkable harm.
Tragically, this is a problem right here in Wisconsin. In 2008, over 7,000 unique computers in Wisconsin traded or accessed recordings of very young children being raped and sexually tortured. Thousands of Wisconsin children are waiting for rescue right now, but the funds are scarce. That is why I authored Senate Bill 546 or "Alicia's Law" which helps give hope to victims by establishing a dedicated fund and dedicated surcharge that will go directly toward combating Internet crimes against children and rescuing Wisconsin children from harm. This bill had a hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety on Wednesday, and was passed by the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice on Wednesday as well.
Senate Bill 452
A second bill I authored to help protect children also received a public hearing this week. Representative Samantha Kerkman joined me in authoring Senate Bill 452, which would increase penalties for offenders who install or use a surveillance device or view a victim for sexual arousal in a place of privacy, such as a locker room or home, if the victim is under 18.
We brought this bill forward after the case in Pleasant Prairie where one offender and several accomplices spent four years compiling more than 20,000 hours of pornographic videos. Many of those videos were recorded inside women's locker rooms at two locations in the area. These actions are reprehensible, but become even more despicable when these videos are taken of children. Filming children or viewing children in a place of privacy for sexual arousal is repulsive, and SB 452 toughens the penalties for these crimes. This bill received a public hearing in the Assembly Committee on Criminal Justice on Wednesday, and received a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety (which I chair) last week.
Our children cannot protect themselves, and I believe that it is the duty of Legislators to protect those that are most vulnerable. I am hopeful that my colleagues will join me in passing these bills quickly to help save and protect Wisconsin children.