Legislation is moving forward in West Virginia to help speed up the process of catching Internet child predators.Â Very often when these predators are caught online, police may have proof, but are forced to wait days – sometimes months – before they can make an arrest.Â The problem?Â Gettting the subpoenas to find out the physical address where the offender is logging in.
“It can be lengthy in the time it takes to get a subpoena,” State Police Lt. Joe White says. “And, in cases of criminal activity against children, time is of the essence.”Â Every county in West Virginia has a different subpeona process.Â This bill would make the entire process uniform statewide.Â
White says, in Internet cases, the subpoena is necessary because the process is different.Â During an ordinary crime, the location is first, then police collect evidence. On the Internet, they have evidence first and then need to find the location. Once the subpoena is issued, police would be able to get a physical address from the Internet provider using the computer’s IP address.
“Minutes and hours could be the difference between a young girl being picked up by some predator or being able to get the predator first,” Sen. Evan Jenkins, D-Cabell, says.
The bill is expected to pass the Senate sometime next week.