AN ACT TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL ABUSE BY INCREASING PROSECUTORIAL OPTIONS FOR DELAYED REPORTS OF CHILD ABUSE, TO EXPAND THE DUTY TO REPORT CHILD ABUSE, TO PROTECT CHILDREN FROM ONLINE PREDATORS, TO EXTEND THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR A CIVIL ACTION FOR CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SO THAT A PLAINTIFF HAS UNTIL AGE THIRTY-EIGHT TO COMMENCE AN ACTION, AND TO REQUIRE TRAINING ON CHILD SEX ABUSE AND SEX TRAFFICKING FOR SCHOOL PERSONNEL.
Senate committee substitute makes the following changes to the 1st edition.
Modifies proposed GS 14-318.6 as follows. Adds and defines the term crime of abuse as any of the specified five misdemeanors and the attempt, solicitation, or conspiracy to commit those listed offenses that are committed against a victim who has not reached age 18. Requires a person or institution suspecting that a juvenile has been the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse (was, the victim of a crime) to immediately report the case to the appropriate local law enforcement agency in the county where the child resides or is found. Defines crime of abuse. Adds to the penalty provisions regarding failure to report or preventing another person to report under the statute, qualifying that the provision applies to any person or institution who knew or should have known that a juvenile was the victim of a felony or a crime of abuse; maintains Class 1 misdemeanor punishment. Adds that the identity of a person making a report under the statute must be protected and only revealed as provided in GS 132-1.4(c)(4) (which makes the contents of 911 and other emergency telephone calls received by or on behalf of public law enforcement agencies public record, except for such contents that reveal the natural voice, name, address, telephone number, or other information that may identify the caller, victim, or witness).
Amends GS 15-1 by removing the proposed definition of crime of abuse and instead refers to the definition added to GS 14-318.6 (which includes a less extensive list of misdemeanor offenses than proposed under this statute).
Modifies the provisions of GS 14-202.5 to now make it unlawful for a high-risk sex offender to (1) communicate with a person that the offender believes is under 16 years old, (2) contact a person that the offender believes is under age 16, (3) pose falsely as under age 16, (4) use a website to gather information about a person that the offender believes is under age 16, or (5) use a commercial social networking website in violation of a policy posted in a manner reasonably likely to come to the attention of users prohibiting convicted sex offenders from using the site. Amends the definition of high-risk sex offender by making clarifying changes and by deleting a person who was convicted of a violation of nine enumerated offenses.
Amends the liability provision to provide that a commercial social networking site that complies with GS 14-208.15A or makes other reasonable efforts to prevent a high-risk sex offender from using its website to endanger children (was, to violate the specified prohibition) will not be held civilly liable for damages arising out of the sex offender's communications on the site's system or network.
Amends GS 14-208.9 by adding that if a high-risk sex offender that is required to register an IP address obtains or is assigned a new IP address, the offender must report in person within three business days to the sheriff and provide notice of the new address. Requires the sheriff to immediately forward the information to the Department of Public Safety. Effective December 1, 2019.
Amends GS 15A-622 by allowing an investigative grand jury to be convened if the petition alleges the commission of, attempt to commit or solicitation to commit, or a conspiracy to commit a violation of Article 13A of GS Chapter 14 (Gang Suppression Act), a felony sex offense against a person under age 18, or a crime of abuse as it is defined in GS 14-318.6 (previous edition only added crime of abuse as the term was defined in GS 15-1).
Amends GS 15A-623 by clarifying that the court may direct a witness to produce the designated items before the items are to be offered to the investigative grand jury (was, before trial or before the items are to be offered in evidence).
Eliminates Part VII of the previous edition, which amended GS 1-17, GS 1-52, and GS 1-56, to allow a plaintiff to file a civil action against a defendant for sexual abuse suffered while the plaintiff was under 18 until the plaintiff attains the age of 50.
Makes conforming organizational changes.
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