Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Law seeks to get tough on cyber sex with minors

By Ruth Sinai
Haaretz - January 9, 2007

The Knesset yesterday approved a law in final reading that imposes a maximum sentence of two years in jail on any adult who makes sexual suggestions to a minor via the Internet or telephone.
For the purpose of this law, a minor is defined as someone below age 15.
The law, sponsored by MKs Zevulun Orlev (National Religious Party) and Nadia Hilou (Labor), states that making sexual suggestions to a minor will be considered a crime even if the minor makes no objection, since their tender age sometimes makes it difficult for youngsters to understand that a suggestion is objectionable or to challenge an adult.
"Every sexual deviant should know that even if he did not intend to commit a crime, and only wanted to talk in a chat room, the moment he suggests something sexual to a minor, he is breaking the law," said Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, director of the Council for the Welfare of the Child, who drafted the bill for Orlev and Hilou.
Kadman based the bill on Australia's legislation against "cyber sex." He said that Israel is one of the few countries in the world that has adopted this model.
The 1998 law against sexual harassment, which the new law amends, made sexual suggestions to minors a crime only if there was a relationship of authority or dependency between the adult and the minor. The new law makes such suggestions criminal even if no relationship of dependency exists.
"The law is meant to be stricter on those who hurt children," said Orlev. "It closes a loophole that previously prevented the indictment of adults who exploited minors' innocence."

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