Tag - Child Pornography

Child Pornography Laws And Penalties

Child pornography images are not protected by the rights included in the First Amendment. These are defined as illegal contraband in line with federal legislation. Child pornography is defined by Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code as any type of visual depictions of sexual conduct that involves an underage individual – a person who has not reached 18 years of age. These visual depictions may include videos, photographs, computer generated as well as digital images that cannot be distinguished from a real underage person as well as images that are created, modified or adapted, but tend to depict an actual minor that is identifiable to the viewer. Furthermore, any kind of undeveloped videotape, undeveloped film and any type of digitally stored data, which can be transformed into an actual image of child pornography will be also depicted as illegal content in line with federal legislation.

It is also worth mentioning that the legal definition of sexual conduct does not demand that an image should depict a child engaged in some sort of sexual activity. In cases where the image of a naked child is sufficiently sexually suggestive, it may also be deemed as illegal child pornography. Furthermore, the age of consent for sexual intercourse in the given state is not relevant – any kind of depiction of a minor that is engaging in sexual conduct is prohibited by law nationwide.

Federal jurisdiction will take place in cases where a child pornography crime took place in interstate or foreign commerce. This may include, for instance, utilizing the US Mail or couriers to transport child pornography across international borders or across the state. In addition, federal jurisdiction will be applied in cases where the internet is utilized in order to commit a child pornography offense, even in cases where child pornography images did not travel across the international borders or the state. Federal jurisdiction may be applied in cases where the materials, including the PC used to download the content or the CD Rom that was used in order to store the content, first originated in the interstate or foreign commerce.

Additionally, Section 2251A of Title 18, United States Code clearly prohibits any parent, legal guardian as well as any other person in custody of an underage individual who has not reached the age of 18 to sell, buy or transfer custody of that individual in order to produce child pornography.

Section 2260 of Title 18, United States Code prohibits any individual outside the US from willingly receiving, producing, shipping, distributing or transporting child pornography with the purpose of transmitting or importing the content into the United States.

Any type of violation of deferred child pornography law is a serious offense and convicted criminals will face harsh penalties indeed. For instance, a first time criminal who was convicted of producing child pornography content under 18 U.S.C. § 2251, will face expensive fines as well as a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in state prison. Furthermore, a first time criminal who was convicted of transporting child pornography content throughout the interstate or foreign commerce under 18 U.S.C. § 2252 will face expensive fines as well as a statutory minimum of 5 years to 20 years maximum in state prison.

Convicted criminals may face even more severe legal penalties in cases when the offender had prior convictions or in cases where that child pornography offense took place in aggravated circumstances that are defined as 1) the images that are sadistic, violent in nature, 2) the minor was abused sexually, or 3) the criminal had prior convictions that were related to child sexual exploitation. In such a situation, the criminal may be facing up to life in a state prison.

Dmitry Gorin, ESQ
Eisner Gorin LLP

Tarzana Man Pleads Guilty to Charge of Distribution of Child Pornography

A Tarzana man has agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of distribution of child pornography this past week. Al Abrams, who resigned from his post as the president of the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners in 2011, was arrested by local and federal officers in August of last year. Investigators searching his home found hundreds of images and videos of child pornography, some of which included children under the age of 12 and even infants engaging in “sexually explicit conduct” or in sadistic or masochistic situations. Abrams admitted to investigators that he had amassed the collection over more than a decade. Abrams was charged earlier this year in February with eight criminal offenses that included possessing, distributing and receiving child pornography using peer-to-peer file sharing programs on the internet. Under terms of the new plea bargain, Abrams will most likely be sentenced to anywhere from five to eight years in prison and lifetime supervised release once his prison term is served. Abrams will also be required to pay a fine of $5,000. After his arrest last year, Abrams, who owns a public relations firm that has worked on promoting ballot measures in Agoura Hills, Westlake Village and Walnut Creek, reportedly told a local television station that his illegal behavior could be blamed on a growth on his spine that left him with a split personality and made him more disposed to do things he would not normally have done. The growth has since been removed.

For many people convicted of a sex crime such as the possession of child pornography, no amount of public relations work will be enough to repair the damage done to their reputation. In most cases, having prison time on your record is damaging, though not insurmountable. But in a field such as public relations that is seemingly so much about a person or a company’s image and their perception by the public, being convicted of a serious sex crime may effectively end Abrams’ career. Long after his prison term has been completed and he has been released back into society, Abrams will have to be supervised by a probation or parole officer and will likely be required to register as a sex offender. In many cases similar to Abrams’, it is likely that a defendant will also be required to keep a specified distance from areas where children are known to congregate such as parks or schools.

Southern California Sex Crimes

Los Angeles, Riverside and Orange counties have seen a fair share of bizarre and disturbing sex crimes over the years, and the following recent events are no different.

In Orange County, a massage therapist was sentenced to jail time and probation according to the Los Angeles Times after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting three of his clients. The 29 year old man was sentenced to one year in jail after admitting to one felony and two misdemeanor sex crimes. He will also have three years of probation and have to register as a lifetime sex offender. The man worked for nine months in a Seal beach massage establishment where he assaulted three women sexually during their appointments. One of them reported the assault to police, the other two came forward during the investigation. He also had his massage certification taken away.

In the Inland Empire, a man pleaded guilty in federal court to making child pornography with a 13 year old boy. The 33 year old man filmed his sexual conduct with the teenager. The man pleaded guilty to production of child pornography which carries with it a minimum penalty of 15 years in federal prison. The sex crime took place in 2009 and the boy lived just a few houses away from the man. The FBI also identified two other victims according to the L.A. Times. The man was charged with 23 counts of lewd acts upon a child, alleging he molested three victims including the one in the federal case. That trial is taking place in San Bernandino County Superior Court.

Up in Modesto County, a 15 year veteran of the Modesto Police Department was arrested for suspicion of sexually molesting a female relative of his. The 40 year old man was taken into custody and booked on suspicion of felony molestation charges. The officer’s alleged sex crimes occurred in 2009 and 2010 according to the victim. None occurred while the officer was on duty though, which will be helpful in his defense. Police and community members are stunned by the arrest.

Sex crimes take all forms, and the prosecution of these crimes requires a Los Angeles Sex Crime Attorney who can provide the best defense in the midst of a complicated situation. The press, the community and the courts demonize anyone charged with a sex crime, even though the American justice system declares people innocent until proven guilty.