On Friday, September 7, 2012, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed his assent to a far-reaching child pornography ban. Prior to this, it was only illegal for New Yorkers to download, save or print sexual images of minors. The new legislation, however, closes a loophole that previously allowed the possession of child pornography if the images had become automatically embedded on one’s computer. Now, any individual who intentionally accesses obscene sexual images of children will be committing a class E felony, punishable by up to five years in jail.
The loophole was discovered after James Kent, a former Marist College professor, was convicted for possession of child pornography. Two of the more than 100 charges against Kent were reversed in May when the State’s Court of Appeals found vagueness in the old child-porn legislation. New York’s highest court ruled that for an individual to be convicted of possession, the person must take an active step in accessing it (i.e. downloading or printing the pornographic image). The court’s controversial ruling propelled the state to review the law’s language in the hopes of better protecting young New Yorkers from sexual predators.
For a copy of the decision (New York State Court of Appeals), visit: