--Rep. John Taylor (R-Philadelphia) joined a majority of his colleagues in passing legislation to create the offense of cyber harassment of a child.
“With the growth of social networking through Facebook and Twitter, the harassment of children by those who repeatedly email or spread seriously disparaging comments has become all too prevalent, and the results can be devastating,” Taylor said. “Our children should be able to grow up free from such intimidation. This legislation will go a long way to accomplishing that.”
Under House Bill 229
, the cyber harassment of a child would include using electronic communications to repeatedly make statements about a child’s sexuality or sexual activity, or make statements about a child’s physical characteristics or mental health in a way to cause serious emotional distress.
This legislation would allow for intervention by law enforcement and juvenile probation officers who would initially review the case if it involved a juvenile offender. If appropriate, the case could be referred to juvenile court or the juvenile offender could be placed in a diversion program.
An adult who engages in such conduct would be prosecuted in court, rather than be issued a summary citation.
The offense would be a classified a third-degree misdemeanor.
The bill now moves on to the Senate.
Representative John Taylor
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: David Foster