Florida Babysitter Indicted for Child Pornography
A Florida area male babysitter was arrested earlier this month on allegations that he had violated federal child pornography laws. The investigation began last year, and it is alleged that the accused was guilty of receiving and distributing “images of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” The media alarm regarding the allegations against the accused has been because he was heavily involved in his local community and spent a significant portion of his life volunteering at camps and working with young children. Upon his arrest, the accused was immediately fired from his part-time position at the Roberts Learning and Achievement Center, which is a youth center that is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Florida.
The accused seemed to have devoted his life to working with children. He volunteered at an assortment of local area churches and youth organizations, and was employed at the Fernandina Beach Boys and Girls Club. While in school at Yulee High School, the accused was a student representative for the Nassau Alcohol, Crime and Drug Abatement Coalition, as well as founder of the organization Teens for Change.
The arrest and charges stem from an arrest of a suspected Canadian child pornographist in 2013. Since then the federal government has been communicating with the Canadian suspect and other people connected to child exploitation crimes. In the complaint, it is alleged that the Canadian suspect and the accused were engaged in communications with one another. In these communications, the accused engaged in instant messaging conversations that involved the transmittal of sexually explicit content and images of minors. Upon forensic examinations of the accused’s computer, additional child pornography images were discovered. Google search terms regarding young boys and sexually explicit terms were also discovered on the computer.
Federal Child Pornography Laws
Federal law provides harsh penalties for those found guilty of producing, distributing, receiving or possessing an image of child pornography. The law specifically makes it illegal to induce, coerce, persuade or incite a minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct in order to produce a visual depiction of the explicit conduct. Even the attempt or conspiracy to commit a child pornographic act is capable of being prosecuted under federal law. Though state and local governments also have child pornography laws, the accused is being tried under federal jurisdiction. Federal jurisdiction for child pornography is imposed if the offense occurred in or as a part of interstate or foreign commerce. Interstate and foreign commerce is implicated when the transmission, viewing, production and or distribution of child pornography is conducted through the U.S. mail systems and common carriers, as well as via the internet, which is how the distribution occurred in the current case.
The current case at issue was brought with the assistance of The Project Safe Childhood, which was created by the Department of Justice in 2006 in order to assist federal efforts in the prosecution and investigation of child sexual exploitation and abuse. If found guilty, the accused will face a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, or even up to 20 years in prison, along with a potential life supervision by the federal government.
Child pornography claims are serious allegations that can be prosecuted under federal, state and local laws. If you need assistance from a South Florida criminal defense attorney, contact Jeff A. Weiner, P.A. in Miami today.