Toepel’s Child Protection Bill Heads to Senate

HARRISBURG – Striving to increase criminal penalties for child pornography offenders, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives today unanimously passed legislation, House Bill 321, authored by state Rep. Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery).

“My legislation was one of the measures recently recommended by the Task Force on Child Protection,” said Toepel, a member of the House Children and Youth and Judiciary committees. “By working together in a bipartisan manner to get this bill passed, we are ensuring that all Pennsylvania children are kept safe and that justice is rightfully served to those who strip children of their innocence.”

House Bill 321 is modeled upon federal sentencing guidelines, which establishes greater sentences based upon the aggravating factors such as age of the child, the number of images possessed, and the nature and character of the abuse.

The task force, in its report to the General Assembly, stated that despite the fact that child pornography is a very serious offense, sentencing varied greatly and some defendants were placed on probation.

According to the Pennsylvania attorney general, The Internet Filter Review, an online publication that is dedicated to protecting children from pornography on the Internet, has estimated that there are 100,000 websites offering illegal child pornography. It also reports that the average age of exposure to Internet pornography is 11.

“Criminals who create, share and store despicable images of child pornography are responsible for destroying children’s lives and they must be punished harshly,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman, an advocate of this legislation.

This legislation now heads to the Senate for consideration. For more legislative information, visit Toepel’s website at or follow her legislative Facebook page at 

Representative Marcy Toepel
147th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact:  Lauren Whetzel
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