Law enforcement officials would be required to report pornographic materials found during the investigation of sexual crimes under a bill discussed Tuesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
SB 92 could help support evidence of a link between pornography consumption and sexual violence, proponents said.
Recording the presence of pornography found during investigations — at the scene of the crime, in the home or vehicle of a suspect or in possession of a suspect — could provide new insight on the motivation behind sexual crimes, said Phillip Cosby, state director of the American Family Association of Kansas and Missouri.
“Such data will either affirm or refute the anecdotal observations, debates and speculations that range from ‘pornography is just harmless fun,’ to ‘pornography is the fuel that acts a catalyst for fantasy-driven criminal behavior,’” Cosby said.
Research has been inconclusive on the subject. A 2011 report by Scientific American suggests porn may reduce the desire to commit sexual violence by offering an outlet for deviant desires.
Still, SB 92 has gained momentum since the appearance of older versions of the bill in 2011.
The measure, introduced by Sen. Greg Smith, R-Overland Park, passed unanimously out of the House Judiciary Committee in 2011. It received a 119-2 vote on the House floor, but was never voted on by the Senate.
During Tuesday’s hearing, Smith spoke of his personal connection to the issue.
“I can also speak from the standpoint of a father who has lost a daughter to a violent crime,” Smith said, referring to the highly publicized kidnapping, rape and murder of Kelsey Smith in 2007.
Smith said pornographic materials found at the home of murderer Edwin Roy Hall contained “actions that were replicated on my daughter.” Hardcore pornography, he said, gives the consumer confidence to “successfully perpetrate crimes.”
“So, he said, “I have no doubt that’s there a link.”