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Any person who intentionally views material depicting a child under the age of 18 engaging in a prohibited sexual act or simulating such an act is guilty of a felony.  In addition, any person who causes or permits a child under the age of 18 to engage in a prohibited sexual act and has reason to know it will be depicted is guilty of a felony.  In neither instance is it a defense that you did not know the age of the child.  Nor is it a defense that the child’s age was misrepresented to you.

In Pennsylvania courts and in federal court, charges of child pornography are extremely serious.  A reputable computer forensic expert is typically essential during the investigative process, trial and sentencing.  The crime is a Megan’s Law offense and those convicted are designated as sex offenders.   Sentences for a first offense can range from probation to up to 20 years in prison.  For a second offense, the sentence is more serious.  Sentences in child porn cases are contingent upon many factors, most importantly jurisdiction – state or federal court.  In the federal court system, there are mandatory prison sentences for child porn cases and there are also many enhancements under the United States Sentencing Guidelines (i.e., use of a computer in accessing child porn, the number of images possessed, are examples of circumstances which qualify as an upward enhancements under the Guidelines).  Whether a prosecution is federal or state is sometimes contingent upon the existence of evidence of receipt in interstate commerce.  If the child porn is received on the internet, obviously interstate commerce is easily proven.

The law applies regardless of the age of the person who takes the photo and sends it.  This has led to serious ramifications for children who engage in “sexting,” including teenagers who are have been charged and required to register as sex offenders for sending photos to their underage partner.

Those convicted of possession of child pornography and/or distribution of child pornography face extremely harsh consequences such as severe jail sentences and long periods of probation.  I have experience in the trial court and appellate court on child pornography cases.  I have worked with many forensic experts in these case – computer, psychiatric and psychological.  It is vitally important to hire an attorney that has experience in such cases immediately after a search warrant is served, after arrest or after being notified by authorities that you are being investigated.

Greg Pagano Wins 3rd Circuit Appeal – New Sentencing Hearing Granted . . . – click to read the Court’s opinion.


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