Regional Digest

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In Maryland

Senate passes stronger Internet child sex measure

A bill designed to clarify Maryland's Internet solicitation law by spelling out a prohibition against approaching someone "believed" to be a minor online for sex passed the Senate unanimously without debate yesterday.

The measure stems from a debate over whether the current law applies even when no minor - only an investigator conducting a sting - is involved in an online chat.

Maryland law makes no distinction between fictitious and real victims, and some defense attorneys have had success arguing that their clients could not have committed a crime because they were not setting up sexual liaisons with children.

The bill goes to the House, where a similar measure is awaiting a vote in the House Judiciary Committee.

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