Chaparro, Verrelli bill to help prosecute child endangerment crimes clears Assembly panel

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A bill introduced by Assembly members Annette Chaparro (D-33) and Anthony Verrelli (D-15) to help law enforcement prosecute child endangerment crimes cleared the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee yesterday.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Under Bill A-2264, if an electronic service communication provider reports an incident of child endangerment to New Jersey’s Computer Crimes Task Force Hotline, they would be required to retain information about the endangerment for at least 180 days.

“Every single instance of child endangerment is a tragedy and an outrage that must be dealt with adequately,” Chaparro said in a joint statement.

“I thank the communication service providers who do the right thing by reporting suspected child endangerment to our State’s hotline. This bill makes sure their report is properly addressed by retaining relevant information that can help law enforcement track down and prosecute perpetrators.”

Providers are only required under federal law to preserve this information for 90 days if a government entity issues a request. It can then be extended by another 90 days upon request.

This legislation would automatically require a retention period of at least 180 days in New Jersey, to ensure immediate preservation and help law enforcement prosecute the case.

“The abuse and exploitation of children is one of the most heinous acts a person can commit. The horrifying prevalence of this abuse and the nature of internet crimes can unfortunately mean investigation and prosecution can sometimes take longer than anyone would prefer,” Verrelli added.

“It’s crucial that information about child endangerment is retained for long enough to give law enforcement time to complete their investigation and bring these criminals to justice.”

The bill now heads to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-19) for further consideration.

According to The Investigative Post, there were more than 45 million videos and photos worldwide flagged as child sex abuse by technology companies in 2019.