Washington, D.C. – The House Judiciary Committee today approved by voice vote the Combat Online Predators Act (H.R. 4203). This bill, introduced by Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), protects children by combating the stalking and cyberstalking of minors. The Combat Online Predators Act increases the maximum term of imprisonment by up to five years for the most serious forms of stalking and cyberstalking of a minor. The bill also calls on the Department of Justice to evaluate federal, state, and local efforts to enforce laws relating to stalking and determine best practices for preventing this crime against children.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Fitzpatrick applauded today’s Committee approval of the Combat Online Predators Act in the statements below.

Chairman Goodlatte: “The advent of the Internet and advancement in technology has improved all of our lives but it has also provided stalkers with new ways to prey upon innocent victims. Too many Americans have become victims of stalking and cyberstalking, especially minors whose lives are increasingly online and on social media. The Combat Online Predators Act provides law enforcement new tools to protect our nation’s children from cyber-predators and I thank Congressman Fitzpatrick for his work on this bill.”

Representative Fitzpatrick: “We must do everything we can to forcefully respond to egregious instances of stalking and cyberstalking, especially when committed against minors – the most vulnerable among us. The Combat Online Predators Act ensures that, not only are we increasing penalties for these crimes, but also requiring federal law enforcement officials to constantly evaluate and update practices to combat this digital harassment. There is still work to be done at the state level, but today’s passage shows we are serious about making these needed changes at the national level.”