The case in Crofton involving an accused peeping tom has lawmakers in Annapolis looking back at the books. Anne Arundel County police say Charles Novak shot videos of his neighbors without them knowing, many showing juvenile girls.
Novak is charged with 21 counts of burglary, theft, and peeping tom but not child pornography. Joan Harris, the executive director of the advocacy group Citizens for Jessica's Law, says the case hi-lights a few shortcomings.
"I think there is a hole in the law because what 7 or 8 year old, or whatever age of the juvenile, really would be engaged in a sexual act when he's really making a production for his own pleasure," said Harris.
Police found multiple videos of the young girls either nude or partially nude in Novak's home. Investigators say he had a plastic bag full of undergarments marked with the first name of one victim.
She identified them as her own and the family determined Novak entered the home without their permission back in 2008. In Maryland, to be charged with child pornography, the law says a minor would be engaging in an obscene act or sexual conduct.
"I don't think there should be any type of requirement that the child or the subject is involved in a sexual act. The fact that there own privacy is being violated without their knowledge to me is a violation of their own right," said Harris.
A conviction of child pornography would require Novak to register as a sex offender so his neighbors, no matter where he lives, will know his background. As of now, he will not face child porn charges.
Novak is being held without bond.
Delegate Steve Schuh in Anne Arundel County says the Crofton case brought to surface a few problems. He says the language in the child pornography law needs to be broadened and the peeping tom charge should carry stiffer penalties, upgrading it from a misdemeanor to a felony.
We'll let you know if lawmakers craft a bill around this case.
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