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Governor signs rep’s Internet stalking bill

Smyth drafted legislation

Posted: September 30, 2008 9:25 p.m.
Updated: December 2, 2008 5:00 a.m.
 

Self-acknowledged pedophile Jack McClellan is the inspiration behind a new California law banning surrogate stalking on the Internet, a state assembly official said.

“It’s a surgical strike against pedophiles,” said Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, who drafted the bill.

McClellan gained national notoriety for proclaiming himself a pedophile and creating Web sites that show pedophiles where they can stalk children. McClellan bounces back and forth between California and Oregon. His last visit to Santa Clarita in June 2007 enraged locals. McClellan posted pictures on his Web site of underage girls at the Santa Clarita Lanes bowling alley.

Smyth read a McClellan blog describing a location where Smyth and his wife brought their children to play. Santa Clarita parents started a ground swell that rippled all the way to Sacramento, he said.
“It was a real grass-roots movement,” Smyth said.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed assembly bill 534 into law Monday.

“We are appreciative that the governor signed this bill into law,” Smyth said.

Commonly known as the surrogate stalker bill, the new law prevents people from posting pictures of children, their physical descriptions and locations on the Internet to help others commit crimes against children.

The toughest part was getting the bill to the governor’s desk, Smyth said.

“We tailored the bill to hold up to constitutional challenges,” Smyth said.

His staff worked with district attorneys’ offices and law enforcement across the state to draft a bill that specifically addresses pedophiles without infringing on law-abiding citizens’ first amendment rights, Smyth said.

The law goes into effect Jan. 1 and falls under the same sentencing standards as existing child endangerment laws.

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