A Florida man and his roommate have been charged with child pornography charges.
Local authorities reportedly received a tip that the man, a United States Postal worker, was downloading child porn. When the authorities arrived to search his home, however, the man was away house sitting for a friend. Only the roommate was home. A search of the roommate's computer revealed illegal images, and the roommate was charged with 11 counts of possession of child pornography.
Later that day, authorities arrived at the house where the man was house sitting. They found 1,500 files -- including 500 videos -- in the man's possession, many depicting nude boys and girls from the ages of about 2 months to teenagers engaged in sex acts.
In Florida, child pornography is defined as any image depicting a minor engaged in sexual conduct. It can be charged as a 3rd degree felony punishable up to 5 years in prison. Possession of child pornography with intent to promote can be charged as a 2nd degree felony and carry a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Both sentences may also require sex offender registration.
The increased use of the Internet in people's daily lives has been accompanied by increased surveillance by enforcement agencies. Many authorities have made the investigation of Internet sex crimes a top priority. For example, although home computer users may feel anonymous, their activities can be recorded by undercover officers posing as people interested in buying or exchanging child pornography. In that scenario, called a sting operation, the exchange can be used to prosecute all parties connected to the child pornography, including buyers, sellers and others in possession of it.
If you are facing a child pornography charge, it is essential that you utilize your right to have an attorney present as soon as you are read your rights. An attorney can work with computer experts and other specialists to prepare the strongest defense against the prosecution's case.
Source: WSTP 10 News, "David Scheib and Michael Reynolds have been arrested on child porn charges," Kristin Weber, July 19, 2012