Officer, lawmaker team up to criminalize "peering at children"

Editor: Yes, you read that correctly. The State of Maine is in the process of criminalizing those who look at children in public places. While your mind reels at the ramifications of this groundbreaking legislation, do consider that no one has ever been injured by someone looking at them. Consider too the practicalities and the inevitable selective enforcement flowing from such a law. Of course, we all realize how the law will be used: to further marginalize those who've already been through the legal wringer and to provide the mechanism necessary to imprison those whom the "child protectors" wish to permanently remove from society, having been unsuccessful in previous attempts. This is an odious law but one which is entirely predictable, given the succession of ever greater outrages introduced into law by very nasty and contemptuous lawmakers such as Dawn Hill.

Bill toughens law on "visual sexual aggression" against children in Maine

Those who peer at children in public could find themselves on the wrong side of the law in Maine soon.

A bill that passed the House last month aims to strengthen the crime of visual sexual aggression against children, according to state Rep. Dawn Hill, D-York.

Her involvement started when Ogunquit Police Lt. David Alexander was called to a local beach to deal with a man who appeared to be observing children entering the community bathrooms. Because the state statute prevents arrests for visual sexual aggression of a child in a public place, Alexander said he and his fellow officer could only ask the man to move along.

"There was no violation of law that we could enforce. There was nothing we could charge him with," Alexander said.

He attended a talk with Hill a week later and brought the case to her attention. Hill pledged to do what she could, Alexander said, and the result was a change through the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the House, which made the law applicable in both private and public places.

Alexander said he's grateful Hill was willing to take up the cause, and is hopeful the measure will clear the Senate.

"I'll be pleased that we were able to identify this flaw and take steps to rectify it," he said.

Under the bill, if someone is arrested for viewing children in a public place, it would be a Class D felony if the child is between 12 to 14 years old and a Class C felony if the child is under 12, according to Alexander.

Hill said she believes the move was necessary to correct what she called a "loophole" in the state's criminal law statutes.

"I told Lt. Alexander that I would be happy to work with him and sponsor a bill that would correct this in the 2008 session," Hill said. "And so we did."

In arguing for the bill, Alexander said she cited public rest rooms as places where the people using them should have a reasonable expectation of privacy. She said the committee determined that there would not be any major side effects from expanding the statute to include public places.

The bill recently cleared a fiscal review, done because of the state's major prison budget crunch, and Hill said it should be heading to the Senate before long.

York Police Chief Doug Bracy said the statute would represent a fairly minor change that would help keep the public safer, especially children. He noted that York police respond fairly regularly to reports of public peepers on the town's beaches.

With ever-growing concern over sexual predators, Bracy said the arrests will also allow police to check backgrounds and determine if there is a criminal history involved.

"There is a growing outcry by the public to protect our children," Bracy said, noting that tourists from all over the country visit York.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Utterly un-believable!!! What did you say the name of this wretched country was?? Didn't it used to be known as the "Land of the Free"???

But then, i suppose this is not that much of a stretch from the similarly ludicrous 'thoughtcrimes' of "child pornography" - ESPECIALLY that which is 'synthetic' (computer-generated, rather than involving physically-existing subject(s) (oops, i forgot - "victim"(s))

That's as restrained as i can be about this horrific report!