By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – Reports of online exploitation of children have exploded during the pandemic. Prosecutors in Colorado say our laws are woefully inadequate to address the problem.

(credit: CBS)

Last year, there were more than 18,000 reports in our state of images and videos online that depicted the sexual abuse of children, compared to 11,000 in 2019.

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Colorado hasn’t updated its laws around child exploitation since 2009 when perpetrators traded actual pictures and tapes. Amanda Gall with the Colorado District Attorney’s Council says a new bill would close a loophole that allows people to avoid prosecution by using social media and live streaming.

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“We have to prove in a court beyond a reasonable doubt that they have possessed it, that there’s some amount of that material either on their phone or their computer or a thumb drive, and the fact is that’s just not where it’s stored now. When you’re watching a live stream of an abuse of a child as a viewer, there’s not any evidence necessarily left behind.”

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The Colorado Defense Bar is opposing the bill that passed the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday with one no vote.

Shaun Boyd