The possession of child pornography, like all sex crimes, is a crime that is viewed extremely negatively in the arena of public opinion. In addition to the heavy punishments attached to the crime, there is also a very heavy stigma attached to anyone convicted of an Internet sex crime. This stigma is reinforced by registration onto the sex offender registry, a status that can last for decades.
Attorneys and judges who are dealing with such a crime should take care, then, to ensure that prosecution for Internet sex crimes is conducted properly and fairly.
A 47-year-old man is currently facing such charges in South Carolina, after he was discovered in North Carolina carrying a laptop that contained child pornography. His legal troubles began two years ago, when he was confronted by police. The laptop, however, belonged to the man’s father, with whom he shared a home. A search of the home produced more child pornography, and led to the arrest of the man’s father. The 71-year-old man was initially charged with 22 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation, but most of those charges were dismissed, resulting in a 90-day jail sentence.
During the police search of the home, however, some of the pornography was found in the bedroom of the 47-year-old man. Since the man had told police that he never let anyone else in his bedroom, authorities assumed that the images must belong to him. A warrant was issued for his arrest, but police could not locate him.
He was eventually found in North Carolina and extradited back to South Carolina. He is now being held in lieu of a $75,000 bond; it is not clear whether he plans to plead guilty or to contest the charges that have been leveled against him.
Source: The Herald Online, “Police: Man accused of having child porn in Rock Hill claimed it was his dad’s” Jonathan McFadden, Oct. 23, 2013