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Nick Sandmann’s dad asks legislature to support bill protecting minors from social media harm

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

A bill to criminalize posting personal identifying information online for purposes of intimidating, abusing, threatening, harassing, or frightening a person under the age of 18, passed the Kentucky Senate on Thursday.

The anti-doxing measure was sponsored by Sen. Wil Schroeder, R-Wilder, in the wake of social media postings about Nick Sandmann, a Covington Catholic student, and his January encounter at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., with a Native American man.

Sandmann’s father, Ted, appeared with Schroder at a committee meeting earlier this week in support of the measure.

Ted Sandmann, father of Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann, and Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder. (LRC photo)

During the floor debate, Schroder described possible penalties.

“If this information is released and the minor has reasonable fear of physical injury and nothing happens, it would be a Class A misdemeanor,” which is punishable by up to a year in jail.

If physical action is taken, and the minor is harmed in any way, it would become a Class C felony.” That carries a possible five to 10-year prison term.

There is also a provision in case of monetary loss, Schroder told the Senate.

“If the minor’s loss was $500 or more, it would be a Class D felony, and if there is a $10,000 loss it would be a Class C felony.”

Senate Minority Leader Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said everyone is familiar with the Covington Catholic incident and agrees that doxing and cyberbullying is a problem.

“Unfortunately, that incident has now become a partisan affair. This reaction in the bill is overly broad and goes too far. If we are going to start policing what people say on the internet, and to whom they say it, we better be ready to go all the way.”

Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Taylor Mill, responded by saying, “I don’t remember when the First Amendment ever allowed one person to go out and encourage someone else to burn down another person’s house.”

He told his colleagues that social media is a mean place, and kids are free to say a lot of things. “But you aren’t free to sit behind a computer screen as a coward and encourage other human beings to do harm to young people.”

The bill passed 26-10 and heads to the House.

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One Comment

  1. Roger Auge II says:

    This is the biggest sissy stuff ever by Sandmann’s family. First, money grubbing on the
    Washington Post, where even a settlement might knock down $10 million. And now, in a republican senate and house, a ridiculous item to criminalize speech. This is sissy, baby, whining garbage. . .

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