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Child Protection Act of 2012 Passed

On Monday of this week, the U.S. Senate unanimously approved legislation authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). The Child Protection Act of 2012 (H.R. 6063) was passed by the House of Representatives in August. It has been sent to the President for signature. The bill increases the maximum penalty from 10 years in prison to 20 years for child pornography offenses that involve pre-pubescent children, or those under age 12. The bill also allows a federal court to issue a protective order if it determines that a child victim or witness is being harassed or intimidated and imposes criminal penalties for violation of a protective order. Further, the bill gives the U.S. Marshals limited subpoena authority to locate and apprehend fugitive sex offenders. Additionally, it reauthorizes for five years the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces, a national network of investigators who have arrested more than 30,000 individuals involved in child exploitation since 1998. According to Rep. Wasserman-Schultz, the bill was written with “the input of law enforcement officials and child protection advocates” and enabled them to craft “this bipartisan, common-sense legislation to help stop child exploitation.”​