NY lawmakers seek to outlaw mere viewing of child porn

ALBANY, New York Wed May 9, 2012 4:45pm EDT

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ALBANY, New York (Reuters) - New York state lawmakers said on Wednesday that they will soon introduce legislation in response to a court ruling this week that viewing child pornography on the Internet was not necessarily a crime.

The state's high court, the Court of Appeals, held on Tuesday that while state law criminalizes the possession and promotion of child pornography, it does not forbid mere viewing.

But on Wednesday, two Brooklyn lawmakers said they intend to introduce a bill that would prohibit "knowingly accessing" child pornography "with intent to view."

"Federal regulations are already in place to see that those who access child pornography face the stricter standards of the law," said Senator Martin Golden, a Republican. "New York must adopt these same policies."

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, a Democrat, will sponsor the bill in his chamber, spokeswoman Amy Cleary said. The proposal will be introduced during this legislative session, which ends in less than six weeks.

In the case decided Tuesday, the court dismissed two of the 143 possession and promotion counts for which James Kent, a former Marist College professor, was convicted in 2009. The court held that to be guilty of possession, a person must print, download, or save computer files.

Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in a concurring opinion that as a result of the Kent decision, "the purposeful viewing of child pornography on the Internet is now legal in New York."

(Reporting By Dan Wiessner; Editing by Daniel Trotta and Philip Barbara)

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