On the Web First

MADISON (AP) — It's not against Wisconsin law to ask for nude photos from children, but two Republican state lawmakers say it clearly should be.

Rep. Andre Jacque and Sen. Van Wanggaard are circulating a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for adults to solicit nude or sexually explicit photos, recordings or other representations of minors.

It is already a felony under state law for adults to pressure children to perform or simulate sexual acts for the purpose of recording them. But Jacque said his legislation would give prosecutors the option of filing misdemeanor charges against someone who requests sexually explicit or nude photos of children.

Jacque says current law allows sexual predators to groom children over an extended period of time, often without getting in trouble until they actually gain possession of child pornography.

"They're basically going to continue until they find somebody," he said. "My intent with this legislation is to stop the solicitation of obscene images from children."

Jacque said Brown County sheriff's officers brought the need for such a proposal to his attention.

Lt. Jim Valley, who oversees Brown County's Internet Crimes Against Children task force, said he the measure would give officers "more teeth" to expand investigations.

"We receive tips of individuals soliciting children in our community, but there really isn't a violation of law," he said, adding that sexual predators often request photos to verify they're not speaking to law enforcement officers. Valley said his team has at least three active cases involving adults asking minors for nude photos, including a man who was chatting with a 14-year-old girl online.

Jacque said a handful of states, including Illinois, have similar laws.

Under the bill, an adult who solicits an "intimate or private representation" from someone the person believes to be under age 18 could face a maximum fine of $10,000 fine and up to nine months in jail.

Individuals who attempts to obtain child pornography can also be charged under federal laws. Wanggaard's spokesman, Scott Kelly, said this proposal would allow for state prosecution.

Republicans currently control both chambers of the state Legislature. Tony Palese, a spokesman for Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, said she was still reviewing the proposal and a spokeswoman for Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said he also is still reviewing it.

Jacque said a handful of lawmakers have already signed onto the legislation, including one Democrat, Rep. Lisa Subeck.

Recommended for you