Reporting Child Porn Not Necessarily a Law

By Dominick Cross
The Advertiser
July 29, 2016

F. David Broussard(Photo: Louisiana State Police)

Although Louisiana is one of at least 38 states that does not have a Reporting Child Pornography law on the books, if a computer technician finds child porn while repairing a computer, it is unlawful not to report it to authorities.

So far, Utah, Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota do have such a law; Oregon and Florida have taken a look at doing so.

Still, it was a complaint alerting the Louisiana State Police Bureau of Investigations’ Special Victims Unit that a computer under repair allegedly had child porn images on it that led to the arrest Wednesday of the Rev. Felix David Broussard, pastor of St. Bernard Roman Catholic Church in Breaux Bridge.

Bishop: Child porn a plague

Following an investigation, Broussard was placed under arrest and booked into the St. Martin Parish jail for violating Louisiana Revised Statute 14:81.1 – Pornography involving juveniles (500 counts).

Brooks David, of the Louisiana State Police Public Affairs Section, explained the process via email.

“While computer repair technicians are not mandated reporters of suspected child abuse and/or neglect per Louisiana Children’s Code Article 603,” wrote David. “Any person having cause to believe that a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect may report in accordance with Article 610. These reporters are referred to as permitted reporters.”

David wrote that under LRS 14:131.1, Failure to Report the Commission of Certain Felonies, it is “unlawful for any person having knowledge of the commission of any homicide, rape, or sexual abuse of a child to fail to report or disclose such information to a law enforcement agency or district attorney.”

The exception is if the person having such knowledge is bound by any privilege of confidentiality recognized by law.

“As ‘pornographic’ images of children are considered child sexual abuse images,” wrote David. “Any computer repair technician, or citizen, in general, would be acting in accordance with Louisiana law in reporting those images to law enforcement.”

And that’s fine with Dwain Hutchins, owner of Affordable Computer Service in Carencro.

“As a technician, your job is to fix the problem,” Hutchins said. “If you come across it, then, of course, you report it. But you don’t look for it on people’s computers. That’s not your responsibility.”

Computer techs “don’t look into a guy’s files,” he said. “You’re not supposed to go in and look because people take nude photos of themselves and they do things which is personal. That’s their business.”

In his 16 years of business, Hutchins said his techs have not seen child porn on computers.

“You do your job,” said Hutchins. “Your job is not to investigate a computer unless (law enforcement) brings it in and specifically requests you go through the pictures.”

The Louisiana Attorney General's Cyber Crime (CCU) became operational in January 2001, according to the AG’s website. The mission of the CCU is the investigation, interdiction and prosecution of all crimes in the State of Louisiana which involve computers or other forms of recent advances in technology.


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