Thousands convicted under PA law designed to protect children
HARRISBURG – Twenty years since being signed into law and the Anti-Cyber Enticer Act has put thousands of convicted criminals away who preyed on children through the internet, said Rep. Matt Baker (R-Tioga/Bradford/Potter), author of the law.
Act 62 of 1997 makes it a crime if a person knowingly contacts or communicates with a minor through the internet for the purpose of engaging in any illegal sexual acts, open lewdness, prostitution, the peddling or making of obscene and other sexual materials and performances or sexual abuse of children.
There were 2,630 convictions during the period 2006-15, with 44 percent receiving a state prison sentence. Baker noted that presumably the remainder were incarcerated at the county prisons for up to a two-year period.
“I am glad to know this legislation has had such an impact in the state,” said Baker. “To not only catch, but be able to convict, these criminals and stop their abhorrent activities is something to celebrate. It is being involved in meaningful actions such as this that drive me to keep doing what I’m doing. To save children from this type of evil activity is extremely gratifying.
“Twenty years ago, this type of crime was still quite new to many people who were only beginning to learn about the internet,” continued Baker. “Today, especially with cell phones and other mobile devices, children are even easier to reach by these criminals. This is an important law to have on the books; however, I also encourage parents to talk with their children about this type of predatory crime and keep a close eye on who their children are conversing with online.”