Child Pornography Defense

Being accused of an offense involving child pornography causes individuals shame, fear, and humiliation. The laws against child porn – state and federal – are strict. The consequences of convictions for child porn are serious – jail, probation, and sex offender registration.

What are the child porn crimes?

Possession – it is a crime to knowingly possess a (photo, film, digital reproduction) of any child whom the person knows or reasonably should know to be under the age of 18…if the child is…engaged in sexually explicit conduct. G. L. c. 272, § 29C

Knowingly means that a person must have actual knowledge that the he or she possesses the image or video.

Sexually Explicit Conduct includes: sexual intercourse, sexual touching, masturbation, fondling, caressing, bathroom activities, and lewd poses, to name a few.

Dissemination – it is a crime to disseminate with “lascivious intent” child pornography. G. L. c. 272, § 29B

Dissemination means distribution. The law prohibits texting, emailing, peer-to-peer file sharing, etc. of child pornography

Creation – it is crime to pose or exhibit a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct with “lascivious intent.” It is also a crime to permit this to happen. G. L. c. 272, § 29A

How are these crimes investigated?

The FBI and State Police have units in their organizations that are dedicated exclusively to investigating child pornography distribution, possession, and creation. Investigators spend countless hours online monitoring traffic on the certain websites, peer-to-peer file sharing sites, and the “dark web.”

With so much of the web traffic being international, law enforcement officials work with their counterparts from other countries.

If the police believe that a person is engaged in the dissemination of child pornography they will often apply for, and obtain, a search warrant. The search warrant allows the police to seize certain electronic devices and search them.

The police came to my home and took the computers, tablets, and cell phones. What happens next?

Next, the police are going to search the hard-drive(s) on the device(s). Additionally, if the warrant allows, they will search any cloud storage.

If the police locate illegal photos, it is likely that you (or someone in your home) is going to be charged with a child pornography crime.

What are defenses?

  • The subject in the photograph was not underage
  • It was not me that viewed or distributed the images or videos
  • I did not know the images or videos were on my device
  • Someone hacked my computer and framed me (this actually happened)

What will happen if I am convicted?

The harshness of the punishment depends on the volume of material, the level of violence in the content, and the history of the offender.

Possession:

A conviction for Possession of Child Pornography in Massachusetts state court carries the following punishments:

1st offense: Between 0 and 5 years in state prison, or 0 to 2.5 years in the house of correction, or a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

2nd offense: Not less than 5 years in state prison, or a fine between $5,000 and $20,000.

3rd offense: Not less than 10 years in state prison, or a fine between $10,000 and $30,000.

Convictions for any of these offenses carry mandatory registration as a sex offender

Dissemination:

A conviction for Dissemination of Child Pornography in Massachusetts state court carries the following punishments:

Between 10 and 20 years in state prison, or by a fine of at least $10,000.

A conviction for this offense carries mandatory registration as a sex offender

Creation:

A conviction for Posing or Exhibiting a Child in a State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct in Massachusetts state court carries the following punishments:

Between 10 and 20 years in state prison, or by a fine of at least $10,000.

A conviction for this offense carries mandatory registration as a sex offender

*Note: although the law allows for a fine, in lieu of prison, it is extremely rare for a judge to do so. In other words, if a person is convicted of any child pornography-related offense, a prison sentence is highly likely.

If you or a loved one is charged with a crime like this, call Attorney Henry Fasoldt. He has experience representing people that face these charges.