The Stop CSAM Act in the United States and how it affects the investigative community

United States Capitol Building

Recently, reports were released about the Stop CSAM (Child Sex Abuse Material) Act and its pending vote to become a law in the United States.

Its predecessor, Masha’s Law gave victims the right to recover civil damages in United States Federal Court. The Amy Vicky and Andy Act established a minimum amount of compensation for victims from criminals who trafficked and collected their images.

Recently, the government has taken aim at the Tech industry to try and policy the rampant claims of trafficking and child sex abuse. The spirit of the proposed law has value, but it has created some concerning requirements to bring an action.

Stop CSAM provides 48 hour window

The new bill would require a 48 hour window for a religious entity to stop abuse by one of their clergy persons. Essentially if the act happened and they did something about it in 48 hrs or less, they would not be held liable for the action of the clergy person.

This window would also apply to non-religious entities like the Boy Scouts of America or any group or foster home. Another concerning item is the requirement to show the difference between Child Sex abuse material and child erotica.

Unfortunately, if the material is found to only be erotica, the lawyers representing the victim could be sanctioned.

The Stop CSAM bill would permit mini-trials to determine if a claim should even be filed. If unfounded during the hearing, the victim and their counsel could be held liable.

Burden placed on the victim

The burden essentially is on the victim to locate their own child sex abuse material either on the web or on the dark web and notify the tech providers that it should be removed.

The provider would then have 48 hours to comply. If they fail to comply, the victim would need to find a law firm willing to proceed with a claim. The firm could potentially face a mini hearing and possible sanctions.

This factor alone may prevent victims from having the ability to hire an attorney.

The Bill is currently being fast tracked and it is expected to pass in both the House of Representatives and Senate. If the bill does pass, the role of the investigator will be as important as ever.

Gathering facts and establishing liability will be the basis of these mini-trials. Interviewing witnesses to establish timelines could end up being the key to proceeding with a claim.

Hire a seasoned investigator with nationwide coverage

Using a seasoned investigator who understands the terminology and has the skill set to perform child sex abuse material questioning will help the victim and their attorneys understand if they even have a claim.

When considering an investigator, you should take in to account the ability to have nationwide coverage as often these claims are spread out all over the United States. Engaging the right research team could make or break your case.

Matthew Spaier, Pi is the President of Satellite investigations and the CEO of He Speaks around the country and internationally on investigative topics. You can also listen to his weekly podcast, PI-Perspectives. Matthew was named the 2021 Investigator of the year by PI Magazine and he currently serves as the President of the Associated Licensed Detectives of New York State (ALDONYS)

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