H. B. 4006
(By Delegates L. Phillips, Rowan, Fleischauer, Sobonya, Guthrie, Sumner, Lawrence, Miller, Poore, Border and Arvon)
[Introduced January 8, 2014; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary then Finance.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §61-8C-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to crimes pertaining to the possession, transmission, transportation, distribution and exhibiting of material depicting minors in sexually explicit conduct; adding the accessing of such materials with intent to view as a defined offense; creating an enhanced felony offense and penalty for possessing, accessing with intent to view, transporting, receiving or distributing files or materials which contain more than five hundred images in digital, photographic or video format which depict minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct; providing enhanced criminal penalties when the offender was previously convicted of a sexual offense when the victim was a child; and establishing criminal penalties for second or subsequent violations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §61-8C-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 8C. FILMING OF SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONDUCT OF MINORS.
§61-8C-3. Distribution and exhibiting of material depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct prohibited; penalty.
(a) Any person who, with knowledge, sends or causes to be sent, or distributes, exhibits, possesses, accesses with intent to view, or displays or transports any material visually portraying a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary correctional facility, not more than two years, and fined not more than $2,000.
(b) Any person who, with knowledge, sends or causes to be sent, distributes, exhibits, displays or transports, or possesses or accesses with intent to view, files or other materials that contain more than five hundred separate images visually portraying a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in a correctional facility, not less than eighteen months nor more than five years, and fined not more than $10,000. For purposes of determining violations under this defined offense, each video frame and each image file or photograph that includes such sexually explicit content shall be counted as a separate image.
(c) Any person who violates this section and has been previously convicted of a felony for a sexual offense committed against a victim who was under the age of eighteen at the time of offense shall be imprisoned in a correctional facility, not less than two nor more than ten years, and fined not more than $10,000.
(d) Any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation or the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony, and upon conviction, shall be imprisoned in a correctional facility, not less than two nor more than ten years, and fined not more than $10,000.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to amend the defined crimes and penalties imposed by West Virginia law related to the possession and distribution of child pornography. The bill adds the “accessing with to intent to view” images of child pornography to the defined offense, and amends and clarifies certain elements of the defined offenses. The bill also creates enhanced penalties for offenders who intentionally view, possess, distribute or transmit a large quantity of such images. The bill also creates enhanced penalties for those who are convicted of a second and subsequent offenses and for those who were previously convicted of a felony sex offense where the victim was a minor.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
This bill was recommended for introduction and passage during the Regular Session of the Legislature by the House Select Committee for Crimes Against Children.