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Proposed Bill Would Target Assets in Child Sex Cases

Middlesex Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and State Sen. Barry Feingold believe the proposal would better protect children from predators.

Newly-proposed legislation, if approved, would let authorities seize personal property in child sex abuse cases.

The bill comes in the wake of the ongoing John Burbine child sex abuse case. A former Wakefield resident, Burbine is facing more than 100 counts of child sex abuse stemming from his work at his wife's one-time illegal daycare business.

The legislation would allow authorities, with court permission, to take items such as cameras, cell phones and computers that are used in child pornography or enticement of minors cases. The items would be taken once the case was concluded. 

“Crime evolves and with it so must our laws,” said Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, who is office proposed the bill along with State Sen. Barry Feingold, D-Andover. “The federal government and a host of states already have asset forfeiture statutes that cover this type of crime. It’s my belief this could help us in Massachusetts better educate our children on how to stay safe online and enhance law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute those who prey on our children.”

Feingold noted that funds raised under the law would be used to fund investigations of other child sex predators.

 “Last year there were over 40 State Police investigations related to child pornography in Middlesex County alone,” said Feingold. “This is an ugly problem in our state but our hope is this bill will help bring that number down through Internet safety education and increased financial resources for investigators.”

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