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Bush urges law against virtual child porn

By The Associated Press


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WASHINGTON — President George W. Bush urged the Senate yesterday to follow the House's lead and pass legislation to bypass a Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban of computer simulations of child pornography.

Bush was hosting a private forum on the sexual solicitation and exploitation of children over the Internet. The events were a follow-up to the Oct. 2 White House Conference on Missing, Exploited and Runaway Children.

Bush focused most of his attention and remarks at the time on kidnapped children but noted that during a single year one in five children between the ages of 10 and 17 are sexually propositioned online.

"The threats to our children are found not just on our streets, but they're found in the technology which we use in our homes," Bush told the Oct. 2 conference. "With expanding use of the Internet and the heightened activity of predators searching for underage victims, more children are being lured into harmful and even tragic situations."

In April, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional and too broad part of a 1996 law, the Child Online Protection act. COPA was intended primarily to stop pornography produced through computer wizardry that was not available when the court placed child pornography outside First Amendment protection in 1982. The case was Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition.

Free-speech advocates and pornographers challenged the ban on material that appears to show a child in a sexually explicit situation or that is advertised to convey the impression that someone under age 18 is involved.

The bill Bush was promoting yesterday would prohibit the production, distribution and possession of any visual depiction, real or electronic, of prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.


Supreme Court partially upholds COPA
But justices send case back to appeals court to resolve other free-speech issues; 1998 law remains on hold.  05.13.02

Arts group challenges S.C. Internet law
2001 measure makes it a crime to post photographs, other material state considers unsuitable for children.  11.25.02