Legislation that would protect children from obscene conduct, and improve prosecution of offenders, has been filed by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando).
SB 1150 – Lewd and Lascivious Exhibition, clarifies that a person who performs certain acts in the vicinity of a child, whether the child is aware or not, commits an act of lewd and lascivious exhibition. Advances in technology, such as video baby monitors and nanny cams, have increased the ability to catch violators committing such obscene acts.
The bill was recommended by the Office of the State Attorney, Ninth Judicial Circuit, and was inspired by a case in Orange County in which a man was caught on video pleasuring himself over the bed of a sleeping 6-year-old. At the time, the state attorney declined to press charges in the case, citing the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Werner (1992), which requires the child to be aware of the conduct in order for a violation to have occurred.
“I am extremely grateful for Senator Stewart’s leadership on this issue,” said State Attorney Aramis D. Ayala. “Our criminal justice system requires partnerships to be effective and, as prosecutors, we appreciate when our experience and insight is valued by members of the legislature.”
“It shouldn’t matter whether a child is sleeping or aware of this disgusting conduct or not,” said Stewart. “We need to be able to prosecute this offense before it escalates to something worse. The language in the statute has not been looked at in many years, and needs to be updated to account for current technology. It’s just plain wrong and we need to fix it.”