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2004- Providence After School Alliance was created to give middle schoolers and later high schoolers in Providence an opportunity to participate in high quality after-school programs related to sports, the arts, technology, and more. It reaches 2,000 students in the Afterzone (middle school) and The Hub (high school) programs. High schoolers can earn graduation credit when participating in The Hub mini courses.
2004- The state passed the Rhode Island Telecommunications Education Access Fund, a law enabling all private and public K-12 schools and public libraries access to the Internet and other network related goods for an affordable price.
2012- The Safe School Act was passed and recognized that bullying and cyberbullying creates a fearful environment for victims while at school. Rhode Island thus created a Statewide Bullying Policy that outlined definitions of bullying, proper examples of punishment and the protocol for reporting such incidents.
2012- After the passage of The Statewide Virtual Education Act, the Board of Regents recognized online courses and programs as important to a 21st Century learner, and thus put in place regulations on the new Virtual Learning Education. RIDE promises all students in Rhode Island will have access to high quality, customizable, and rigorous online learning opportunities and that the state will be able to support reliable access to the Internet and other technology used in Virtual Learning.
2014- Roger Williams University School of Law students participated in the National Privacy Education Program created by Fordham Law School, which allowed the students to teach Providence seventh graders about internet safety. This was the first program of its kind in the state, lasted five weeks, and include topics such as privacy protection and digital reputations.
City of Warwick
The city government of Warwick, RI has a tab on their website explaining how to stay safe on the internet, along with tipes on how to deal with cyberbullies.
Office of the Attorney General
Peter Kilmartin is the AG and has services regarding internet safety, cyberbullying, sexting, and resources for parents and links to national organizations.
Rhode Island Afterschool Plus Alliance
RIASPA is a group that advocates for policy change and improvement of RI afterschool programs that focus on sports, the arts, and technology and furthering common core education.
Rhode Island Department of Elementary and Seconday Education (Rhode Island Department of Education)
RIDE is the agency tasked with all things related to education in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children
The RIICAC is a group of prosectuters and other law enforcement officials who go after people who prey on children using electronic means.
Rhode Island State Police Computer Crime Unit
The Computer Crime Unit has three branches designed to keep kids safe from online predators and they also deal with public widespead computer virus and hacking.
This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.
The age of consent in Rhode Island is 16 years of age.
Rhode Island does not classify misdemeanors and felonies by severity, but instead classifies by fines and imprisonment terms. Petty Misdemeanor: Any offense punishable by a fine of less than 500 dollars and/or an imprisonment term of under six months Misdemeanor: Any offense punishable by a fine of more than 500 dollars but less than 1,000 dollars, and/or an imprisonment term of between six months to one year. Felony: Any offense punishable by a fine of more than 1,000 dollars and/or an imprisonment term of more than one year.
- State of Rhode Island General Laws (RI GL) § 11-9-1 Exploitation for Commercial or Immoral Purposes. This section states, among other things, that anyone who sells, distributes, lets out or otherwise permits a child under the age of eighteen to be used in any publication or visual image in a manner which suggests that the child has engaged in, or is about to engage in, any sexual act, is guilty of an offense and liable to up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Any subsequent offense renders the accused liable to up to fifteen years’ imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of $15,000. The section also states that anyone who employs or exhibits any minor under the age of eighteen for the purposes of prostitution or any other indecent or lewd act will be punished by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $20,000.
- RI GL § 11-9-1.1 Child Nudity Prohibited in Publications. This section states that anyone who publishes, sells etc. any material that depicts a child under the age of eighteen performing sodomy, oral copulation, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or bestiality commits an offense. They may be punished by up to ten years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000. For subsequent offenses the fine rises to $15,000 and the term of imprisonment to 15 years. Artistic drawings, sketches, painting, sculptures, or other artistic renditions shall be exempt from provisions of 11-9-1.1.
- RI GL § 11-9-1.3 Child Pornography Prohibited. States that it is an offense to knowingly produce, transport or duplicate, including by computer, any child pornography. This may be punished by up to fifteen years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of up to fifteen years imprisonment, and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
- RI GL § 11-9-1.4 Minor Electronically Disseminating Indecent Material to Another Person - “Sexting” Prohibited. Defines the offense as a minor knowingly and voluntarily using a computer or other telecommunication device to transmit an indecent image of himself/herself to another person, without threat or coercion. Any minor under the age of eighteen violating this section is guilty of a status offense and will be referred to the family court. No charge under § 11-9-1.3 will apply, and shall not be subject to sex offender registration.
- RI GL § 11-9-2 Employment of Children for Unlawful Purposes. States that it is a misdemeanor to employ any child under the age of sixteen for unlawful purposes relating to child pornography, and punishment is determined by Section 11-9-1.
- RI GI § 11-9-4 Contributing to Delinquency. States that anyone who knowingly encourages, aids, contributes to or in any other way causes a child under the age of sixteen to violate any law or be guilty of any immoral or vicious conduct, is guilty of a misdemeanor and liable to a fine of up to $500 or imprisonment for up to one year.
- RI GL § 11-31-1 Circulation of Obscene Publications and Shows. States that it is a crime to promote any obscene performance or material for commercial gain. This offense incurs a fine of between $100 and $1,000 and/or a term of imprisonment not to exceed two years.
- RI GL § 11-31-10 Sale or Exhibition to Minors of Indecent Publications, Pictures, or Articles. This section states that it is a criminal offense (among other definitions) to sell, lend, or distribute any material which contains images of sexual conduct to minors under the age of eighteen. The penalty for this is imprisonment for up to two years and/or a fine of $100 to $1,000.
- RI GL § 11-34-11 Loitering for Indecent Purposes In or Near Schools. Defines the crime as attempting to solicit a prostitute or inducing anyone to commit an indecent act within 300 yards of any school or on any property belonging to a school. The penalty for this offense is up to a year’s imprisonment and/or a fine of between $500 and $1,000.
- RI GL § 11-37-2 First Degree Sexual Assault. States that a person is guilty of this offense when they engage in sexual penetration with another person and if other circumstances such as the accused knowing the victim is mentally incapacitated, disabled, or physically helpless, the accused uses force or coercion, the accused overcomes the victim using concealment or surprise, or if the accused engages in the medical treatment of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation are present. The penalty is imprisonment for a period no less than ten years to up to a life sentence.
- RI GL § 11-37-4 Second Degree Sexual Assault. Declares a person guilty of this offense when they engage in sexual contact with another person and circumstances such as the accused knowing that the victim is mentally incapacitated, disabled, or physically helpless, the accused uses force, element of surprise, or coercion, or the accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation. Penalty is imprisonment from three to fifteen years.
- RI GL § 11-37-6 Third Degree Sexual Assault. States that it is an offense for any person over eighteen to engage in sexual penetration with another person who is over the age of fourteen but under sixteen years of age. Penalty is prison term of up to five years.
- RI GL § 11-37-8.1 First Degree Child Molestation Sexual Assault. A person commits the offense if they engage in sexual penetration with a person aged fourteen or under. Penalty is twenty-five years in prison or up to life in prison.
- RI GL § 11-37-8.2.1 Penalty for First Degree Child Molestation Sexual Assault – Jessica Lunsford Child Predator Act of 2006. This section states that the most dangerous child predators will be electronically monitored for life, upon release from prison, by means of a GPS system. Those who will be affected by this law include those who are convicted of first degree child molestation sexual assault on a child aged under twelve or those who commit that offense who are considered at high risk of re-offense, or have committed the offense against a child under the age of fourteen in conjunction with a range of other offenses such as kidnapping. Violation of the terms of the GPS monitoring conditions is considered a misdemeanor. Felonies apply to anyone who harbors a convicted sex offender or aids them in evading the authorities. Tampering with or destroying the equipment is considered a felony and is punishable by one to five years’ imprisonment.
- RI GL § 11-37-8.3 Second Degree Child Molestation Sexual Assault. Defines the offense as to engage in sexual contact with a child aged fourteen or under. The penalty for this crime is a prison term of between six and 30 years.
- RI GL § 11-37-8.8 Indecent Solicitation of a Child. States that it is a crime to intentionally solicit, including via the Internet, any person under the eighteen for the purpose of engaging in prostitution or unlawful sexual acts. The penalty includes imprisonment for no less than five years.
- RI GL § 11-45-2 Indecent Exposure – Disorderly Conduct. This section states that it is unlawful for a person to expose their genitals in public for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or stimulation. This section carries a sentence of up to one year’s imprisonment and/or a fine of $1,000 for a first offense. A second or subsequent violation of this section carries a prison term of up to three years. This does not apply to breastfeeding in public.
- RI GL § 11-52-4.2 Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment Prohibited. States that it is an offense to communicate by way of computer with any person for the sole person of harassing that person. This is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of up to $500 and/or up to one year’s imprisonment for a first offense. A second or subsequent conviction is a felony and is punishable by a term of imprisonment of up to two years and/or a fine of up to $6,000.
- RI GL § 11-59-2 Stalking Prohibited. States that it is unlawful to harass or follow another person with intent to place them in reasonable fear of bodily injury. The penalty for violating this section is a prison sentence of up to five years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- RI GL § 16-22.1 The Statewide Virtual Education Act. Provides access to consistent, high quality, rigorous, and relevant online learning opportunities to all Rhode Island public school students.
- RI GL § 16-21-33 Safe Schools Act. Defines, among other things, cyberbullying as bullying through the use of technology or electronic communication. It also includes impersonating another person in setting up a website or blog, or as the author of posted content or messages on other websites, which causes the victim physical or emotional harm, creates an intimidating or hostile educational environment, or infringes the victim’s rights to participate in school activities.
- RI GL § 16-21-34 Statewide Bullying Policy Implemented. Requires the Rhode Island Department of Education to implement a statewide bullying policy, which must contain consequences and disciplinary actions for bullying, including cyberbullying, reporting procedures, a parental engagement strategy, protection and counseling strategies, as well as provision for informing parents, students and staff about the policy.
- RI GL § 39-1-61 Rhode Island Telecommunications Education Access Fund. Supplemental to the federal E-Rate program, RITEAF ensures that Internet access and other network resources are made available and affordable to all Rhode Island public and private K-12 schools and all public libraries.