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Governor approves tougher penalties in child prostitution cases

July 12, 2011 |  5:24 pm

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law steeper fines for adults who pay to engage in sex with minors, as well as a measure protecting the library patrons' information from public disclosure, his office said Tuesday.

Under legislation by Assemblyman Sandre Swanson (D-Oakland), people convicted of having sex with a minor for money face a special fine of up to $25,000, on top of the $10,000 maximum penalty already on the books. The additional money will go to groups providing therapy, housing and education to the victims of child prostitution.

"Sex with a child is always rape,” Swanson said after the signing of AB 12. "This law will raise the fines against 'Johns' to match the fines assessed against adults in statutory rape cases."

The governor also signed a measure that expands current confidentiality rules on the records of library patrons to make sure they also prevent disclosure of online interactions patrons have with their libraries, including computer research and emails.

"With every passing day, in so many ways, our personal privacy is being steadily eroded," said Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), author of SB 445. "This new law ensures that when we step into the library, virtually or otherwise, our privacy remains protected."

-- Patrick McGreevy