Legislation Would Allow Assets to be Seized in Child Sex Cases

Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian and Andover Democratic State Senator Barry Feingold propose bill based on existing state drug and human trafficking laws.

Newly-proposed legislation in Massachusetts could set the stage for certain sexual predators in the state to have their assets seized.

According to an announcement from Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, he and State Senator Barry Feingold, an Andover Democrat, have proposed the bill, said to be modeled on existing state controlled substance and human trafficking laws.

The announcement also comes in the spotlight of the ongoing John Burbine child sex abuse case. Burbine, a former Wakefield resident, is facing more than 100 counts of child sex abuse stemming from his work at his wife's one-time illegal daycare business.

The legislation would allow, with court permission, for items such as cameras, cell phones and computers that are used in crimes like child pornography or enticement of minors to be seized and disposed of at the conclusion of a case.

 “Crime evolves and with it so must our laws,” said Koutoujian. “The federal government and a host of states already have asset forfeiture statutes that cover this type of crime. It’s my belief this could help us in Massachusetts better educate our children on how to stay safe online and enhance law enforcement efforts to investigate and prosecute those who prey on our children.”

Feingold noted that funds raised under the law would be used to fund investigations of other child sex predators.

 “Last year there were over 40 state police investigations related to child pornography in Middlesex County alone,” said Feingold “This is an ugly problem in our state but our hope is this bill will help bring that number down through Internet safety education and increased financial resources for investigators.”


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