This bill — the Combat Online Predators Act — would increase the maximum prison sentence for stalking minors by 5 years. It would also require the Attorney General to produce an annual report evaluating the enforcement of stalking laws at all level of government and identify best practices.
What is House Bill H.R. 570?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 570
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to increase penalties related to the stalking of minors:
"We have no higher responsibility than to protect our kids. We must do everything we can to forcefully respond to egregious instances of stalking and cyberstalking, especially when committed against minors – the most vulnerable among us. The Combat Online Predators Act ensures that, not only are we increasing penalties for these crimes, but we are also requiring federal law enforcement officials to constantly evaluate and update practices to combat this online harassment."
Rep. Fitzpatrick introduced this bill in the last Congress after a case in his district where a teenage girl was stalked by a friend’s father, who was arrested on two occasions and sentenced to between 18 months and 7 years in prison:
“Sitting with the Zezzo family, I saw the pain in their eyes. After hearing the disturbing story of cyberstalking endured by this young girl and her family for years, I knew something needed to be done. We must do everything we can to forcefully respond to egregious instances of stalking and cyberstalking, especially when committed against minors — the most vulnerable among us. The Combat Online Predators Act ensures that not only are we increasing penalties for these crimes, but also requiring federal law enforcement officials to constantly evaluate and update practices to combat this digital harassment. There is still ”
This bill has three bipartisan House cosponsors, including two Democrats and one Republican, in the current session of Congress. A Senate version of this bill, sponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) with the support of one cosponsor, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), has also been introduced.
Last Congress, this bill passed the House by a 409-2 vote with the support of five bipartisan cosponsors, including four Republicans and one Democrat. It then passed the Senate by unanimous consent with an amendment that made the enhanced penalties apply only to more serious cases of stalking. Since the two chambers couldn't agree on a final version before the end of the 115th Congress, the bill didn't become law.
- Sponsoring Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) Press Release (115th Congress)
- House Judiciary Committee Press Release (115th Congress)
- Sunshine State News (116th Congress)
- CBO Cost Estimate
- Bucks Local News
- Sunshine State News (115th Congress)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: grandriver / iStock)
Combat Online Predators Act
To amend title 18, United States Code, with regard to stalking.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on the JudiciaryCrime, Terrorism and Homeland SecurityIntroducedJanuary 15th, 2019
- house Committees