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Change Sought For Oklahoma Child Porn Law

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The investigation into three possible child pornography cases is being slowed because the subpoenas have to be issued by a multi-county grand jury. The investigation into three possible child pornography cases is being slowed because the subpoenas have to be issued by a multi-county grand jury.
To me as a law enforcement officer and a parent, it's gravely serious we get those suspects in custody," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler. To me as a law enforcement officer and a parent, it's gravely serious we get those suspects in custody," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler.

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Three cases that could be child pornography in the Tulsa area cannot be investigated because of a loophole in an Oklahoma law. 

The Tulsa Police Department's Cyber Crimes Unit gets 10 child porn cases a month, a big increase over last year.  Once they determine pictures or videos are child pornography, they must go to the multi county grand jury to get a subpoena.  The subpoena forces the internet provider to tell police who the suspect's e-mail address belongs to and where they live.

Months can pass between grand jury meetings, so a detective could wait that long for a subpoena.  A proposed change to the law would allow police to get the subpoena from their local district attorney, which could happen the same day.

"We still must take it to a district attorney. He reviews reports and determines whether there's probable cause a crime has occurred. If he feels there is probably cause this person has child porn, then they sign an administrative subpoena," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler.

Three Tulsa cases just came in from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that show five and six- year-old girls performing sex acts.  But, because the grand jury isn't in session, detectives can't do anything to track down the suspects.

"We have three people in our jurisdiction who have child porn and are either molesting a child or getting ready to. To me as a law enforcement officer and a parent, it's gravely serious we get those suspects in custody," said Tulsa Police Sgt. Tim Stadler.

For the time being, a loophole in the law allows those suspects to do as they please.

Police say they've been working with legislators for years to fix the loophole, but, each time, a lawmaker adds unrelated amendments to the bill so it doesn't pass.

Until the legislation passes or the grand jury meets, those three child porn cases are just sitting on a detective's desk.

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