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New Oklahoma Bill Would Fund Child Porn Investigation

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Senator Dan Newberry of Tulsa authored Senate Bill 1002, which would make anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Oklahoma pay an extra $10 fee. That money would go to dozens of state agencies who help track down those with child porn. Senator Dan Newberry of Tulsa authored Senate Bill 1002, which would make anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Oklahoma pay an extra $10 fee. That money would go to dozens of state agencies who help track down those with child porn.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

Child porn investigators see horrific images on a daily basis. Now, one Oklahoma lawmaker has a new bill to give more money to local investigators to crack down on these crimes against children. But the bill has to make it through the Senate first.

Senator Dan Newberry of Tulsa authored Senate Bill 1002, which would make anyone convicted of a misdemeanor or felony in Oklahoma pay an extra $10 fee. That money would go to dozens of state agencies who help track down those with child porn.

"We're kind of grappling for man power just like everybody else, and one additional body can make a big difference," said Steve Tanner, OSBI agent-in-charge.

Tanner oversees Oklahoma's ICAC Task Force, or Internet Crimes Against Children. It's made up of about 64 agencies investigating children, who are exploited online, but Tanner says resources are stretched thin.

"If we have well over 2,000 cases that can be worked at the state of Oklahoma, and we don't have the ability to investigate all of those cases, then it's hurting our local children," said Tanner."We triage those cases and prioritize them, and we just find the ones that are most important with a child in danger, but we just don't have the manpower to work all of those cases."

Senator Dan Newberry wrote a bill to get ICAC and the District Attorney's office more money to bust and prosecute sexual predators. The money the bill would raise would fund ICAC's expensive computer software, licenses, fully equipped vehicles and training in addition to salaries.

"When you think you've seen the worst, you'll see another one," said Lt. Mark Bruning of the Guthrie Police Dept. "I'm a parent, and it's disturbing to think that anyone can do that to any child."

Bruning is Oklahoma's child porn crusader for ICAC. He's worked on nearly 20 cases this year and feels more money could go a long way for investigations.

"Oh I'd think it would be great to add to the number of investigators because we do pretty well now getting people, but if we doubled our manpower, we would obviously double our arrests," Bruning says.

The bill would also help fund mental health treatment for ICAC investigators.

"Just talking with somebody about stuff is a big coping mechanism," said Bruning. "It helps to cope with things, so any money that's available for us to use for that I'm sure everyone would take advantage of it."

Steve Tanner says there are nearly 2,000 Oklahomans downloading child pornography every month, and just one investigator can make 20 arrests in child porn cases a year.

ICAC agencies receive funding now from federal grants. Senator Newberry will present his bill to the Senate as early as Tuesday.

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