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Walker signs child abuse, trafficking bills

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker signed half-a-dozen bills designed to curtail child abuse and sex trafficking during visits Tuesday to law enforcement facilities around the state.

All of the bills had bipartisan support in the Legislature. The governor signed them throughout the day during stops at sheriff’s departments in Brown, St. Croix and Marathon counties and the Waukesha County courthouse.

One bill requires the state Department of Children and Families to develop a procedure for investigating abuse of a disabled child. Another creates the crime of repeated physical abuse of a child; if a jury agreed that at least three instances of abuse took place, the perpetrator could be charged with a crime ranging from a Class E felony to a Class A felony depending on the severity of the child’s injuries.

A third bill expands the definition of child sex trafficking to include transporting a child for commercial sex and require police to refer abuse cases to a child welfare agency if a person who isn’t a caregiver allows or encourages a child to engage in prostitution or sells the child for sex.

The fourth bill requires DCF, the Department of Corrections, county social services and child welfare agencies to report to police within eight hours if any child under their control goes missing. The agencies also have to report the missing child to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children within 24 hours.

Another measure transfers $1 million from an existing account for drug enforcement and state crime labs to fund investigations and prosecutions of Internet crimes against children. That bill authorizes the attorney general to issue subpoenas on Internet service providers to produce information about a customer or subscriber if the information is relevant to an ongoing investigation of a sex- or pornography-related Internet crime against a child or if investigators believe the Internet account was used in the crime.

The last bill makes parents or legal guardians who photograph or videotape images of nude children for sexual arousal guilty of a Class I felony, which is punishable by up to three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

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