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Child pornography charges could lead to sex offender registration

Amid growing efforts to stop child pornography, it is becoming increasingly well known that one doesn't need to actually photograph an underage person in a pornographic manner; one simply needs to be in possession of the images. Our readers should also understand that child pornography need not be a physical photograph but can exist as an image on a computer, a cell phone, DVD or other electronic device.

According to a news report, a 22-year-old man from Slidell, northeast of New Orleans, was charged with receiving pornographic images of two girls, a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old. Child pornography is a felony charge. If an individual is convicted of possession of child porn, he or she can be placed on the national sex offender registry.

The prosecution will need to prove that the 22-year-old knowingly received these images and did not accidentally get them through a computer virus or other accidental cause. It was not reported how these images came to law enforcement's attention. One of the images was allegedly received in 2009 and the other in 2011.

The charges against the 22-year-old carry a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count and a fine of up to $250,000. The minimum prison sentence for each of the two counts is five years.

Because of the serious nature of the criminal charges, and the growing public mood against child pornography, this case highlights the need for a vigorous criminal defense and the importance of the prosecution proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Is it reasonable that the man did not receive the images knowingly? That is one of the questions that may be answered in a trial.

The 22-year-old has been charged and arrested, with no mention made about a trial date.

Source: The Times-Picayune, "Slidell man faces child porn charges," March 20, 2012

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