State’s Attorney Glasgow joins bipartisan effort to advance bill aimed at preventing predator access to social networking sites

February 14

PLAINFIELD – Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow joined House Republican Leader Tom Cross and Democratic State Senator A.J. Wilhelmi in a bipartisan effort to advance new legislation that will prevent predators from gaining access to social networking sites on the Internet and strengthen laws against child pornography.

The legislative packaged was announced Feb. 11 during a press conference at the Plainfield Public Library.

“I have made it my goal to educate young people and their parents about the dangers of posting personal information on Web sites like Prosecutors and detectives from my Computer Crimes Unit have been presenting my concerns about these social networking sites to school groups and community organizations across the county,” State’s Attorney Glasgow said. “While education is critical, we also must enact laws that give police and prosecutors the tools they need to track down Internet predators and bring them to justice. I look forward to working with Rep. Cross and Senator Wilhelmi on advancing legislation that gives us those tools.”

The proposed legislation would:

  • Ban sex offenders from social networking sites.
  • Enhance child pornography offenses to a Super-Class X felony (9 to 40 years in prison) for multiple images and increasing penalties for child pornography films and videos.
  • Make it a Class X, 1 or 2 felony for an offender to misrepresent his or her age in juvenile solicitation cases.
  • Strengthen current laws under the title of indecent solicitation of an adult to include crimes committed through the Internet.  

Another provision would require electronic and technology employees to report any cases of child pornography to local law enforcement agencies. Any employee that reports child pornography will then be immune from any criminal, civil, or administrative liability in connection with making the report.

Senator Wilhelmi said: “Predators are keeping up with new technology and finding ways to use it to their advantage.  It is important that we as lawmakers keep up with the new technology as well and continue to look for new ways to help law enforcement protect our families. I look forward to helping advance these initiatives in the Senate.”

It is difficult for a young person using these Web sites to know whether the person they are chatting with is really who they say they are. Last July, MySpace found and deleted 29,000 profiles belonging to registered sex offenders – including 1,500 registered sex offenders from Illinois.