Rep. Cook Votes to Combat Child Abuse and Exploitation
WASHINGTON – Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) today voted for two important bills to combat child abuse and exploitation. The first was HR 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. The second was HR 1761, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. Both bills passed the House overwhelmingly with bipartisan support.
HR 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Act. Over the past 20 years, there have been reports of many young athletes who were subjected to sexual abuse by coaches, doctors or other adults affiliated with USA Gymnastics. Although USA Gymnastics received reports of abuse, victims claimed that USA Gymnastics allowed the abuse allegations, including complaints made against coaches who trained and abused young athletes in multiple states, to remain dormant. This law corrects this practice by extending the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies, like USA gymnastics, to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities.
HR 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act, remedies a federal court ruling that had allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence that he had engaged in in sexual abuse of a child. The Court found that that he lacked specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. This bill corrects the federal statute against sexual exploitation of a minor to protect child pornography victims by closing the loophole that requires the defendant to have specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing a child.
Rep. Cook said, “Every child deserves to have a safe childhood. Too often, loopholes in the law allow child predators to slip through the cracks. These common-sense bills will help protect children from abuse and punish those who seek to harm them.”
A member of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Natural Resources Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.