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Bill: Porn exposure to kids could affect custody fights

First Published      Last Updated Feb 26 2014 04:08 pm

A Utah County mom told legislators Wednesday that her ex-husband has been sending pornographic images to their 13-year-old son via social media, but judges currently cannot take that into consideration in their custody and parental-rights disputes.

That helped sway the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote 6-0 to pass SB227 to allow judges to consider intentional exposure of children to pornography in such cases. It sent the bill to the full Senate.

"I have yet to meet anyone who would argue that exposing children to pornography is a good thing," Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, the bill's sponsor said.

However, he said cases are reported where a parent tells a child "to watch this to grow up or be a man. I hope it is fairly rare when that happens, but it does happen… It is very disturbing."

Weiler said the bill allows consideration only of "intentional" exposure, to avoid cases where a child may accidentally access something on TV or around the house.

Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said he has seen too many cases in making house calls as an electrician where families leave pornography in the open around children. He suggested changing the bill to allow consideration of "reckless" exposure, instead of intentional.

Weiler said that change would likely kill the bill because of groups that argue other wording could allow one parent to plant such material and blame the other. So the bill was not changed.