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Beacon Hill Lawmakers Want To Update Mass. Obscenity Laws

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Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

Massachusetts State House in Boston (credit: AP)

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BOSTON (AP) – Legislation has been filed to clarify a state law prohibiting harmful or obscene messages sent to minors through the Internet or other electronic communications.

The bill adds language requiring prosecutors to show that a suspected sexual predator specifically knew – or believed – that the person receiving such message was a minor.

The Supreme Judicial Court last year overturned the conviction of a man accused of sending sexually explicit text messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl. The court ruled that state law at the time didn’t include instant messages as harmful material.

The Legislature reworded the law to include electronic communications, but a federal judge in October ruled the revised law was so broad that it could effectively ban material on the Internet that adults have the right to view.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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