Rep. John Gingrey (R-GA11) statement in congress related to H.R. 4703
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share the heartbreaking story of a 13-year-old girl in my district and to call for tougher penalties for child pornography.
I have introduced, along with Representative Tierney, H.R. 4703, called Masha's law after 13-year-old Masha Allen, whose adoptive father posted pornographic images of her at age 5 on the Internet. Thankfully, law enforcement officials tracked and convicted her father. Masha now lives in Douglasville, Georgia, with a new and loving adoptive parent. However, hundreds of her images are still on the Internet; and her photographs are some of the most widely downloaded pictures in the world.
Mr. Speaker, we absolutely must do something to harshly reprimand those who produce, distribute and consume child pornography. Did you know that under current law the penalties for illegally downloading music are three times higher than the penalties for downloading child pornography? This is absurd and unjust. My legislation would increase the statutory damages for victims of child exploitation and ensure victims can sue those who download their pictures.
We must protect those who have no way of protecting themselves from this horrific and sickening crime, and I ask that you join me in supporting Masha's law.