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The Dangers of Child Molestation

The Dangers of Child Molestation

Child molestation is a common form of molestation across the globe. Discussing this alarming fact has been shunned for centuries, but has recently moved to the forefront in the media and justice systems during the twenty first century. The crime of child molestation deals with adults and children. 
When an adult touches a person under the age of eighteen in an inappropriate manner and with the the intent of engaging in sexual activity, they are child molesters. Violating a child who has no understanding of what sexual activity entails is against the law. Many children do not speak up because they feel scared, confused, or shocked at the initial action itself. This often happens when the child molesters are adults that the child may know or respect.
Child molestation can occur anywhere and at anytime and is considered a form of child abuse. There have been situations where a person has molested a child within their own family, which is known as incest. In these cases, the child molesters are often protected for the sake of the family name or reputation. This negatively affects the child because proper therapy or treatment is often avoided.  Child molestation can occur by siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents.
Today, society allows opportunities to prevent themselves in which children can be placed in danger. Child molestation sometimes merges into kidnapping situations, where a child is abducted, where children can be harmed further. These situations can be avoided by being selective of those let into one’s family life. Parents can never be too over protective of their children, since the children can find themselves helpless against people bigger and stronger than them. 
In certain situations, a child can be away from their parents for eight hours or more, giving molesters the opportunities to attack. Throughout communities the awareness of child molestation and abuse has increased over the years. Public lists of child molesters in the area are available so that families can make decisions on housing, and child regulation. Local, state, and national government entities also offer programs in which prevention tips, advice, and support can be provided to families. 

Societal Effects of Child Pornography

Societal Effects of Child Pornography

With the increasing popularity of the Internet over the last 20 years, the modern problem of child pornography is a threat to the absolute innocence of children. It is agreed that imagery depicting the children in a sexually explicit manner is wrong because the children have no idea of the consequences of the being depicted sexually. Communities agree that children should remain sexually innocent and never be exposed to the sexual exploitation of adults.
In legal pornography, studies have shown a strong correlation of so-called deviant sexual behaviors with the habitual viewing of pornography. It is proven that adults who watch legal porn are more likely to try activities they have seen in pornographic films with their real life sexual partners. Legal pornography caters to sexual fantasy and adults are free to have sexual fantasies of other adults. However, when that practice is translated to child pornography, it could have serious social repercussions. 
Many social scientists and criminologists have conducted studies that show that many men who commit sexual abuse on children are often inspired by child porn. This causal link is important to maintaining the illegality of child pornography. Many jurisdictions offer harsher sentences for child molesters who were caught with child pornography as well. The trend is significant enough to present a clear problem in the occurrence of child molestation. The illegality of child porn is therefore a preventative measure.
 The lives of these children, who have been subjected to instances of pornography are forever reminded of the heinous nature of their sexual exploitation because the illegal pornographic images are published and distributed amongst a clandestine network of sexual predators. 
The protection of the innocence of children is a priority of the entire community and should not be accepted in any way because child porn is particularly damaging because the abuse last longer than the initial exploitation. Even after the images and videos are deleted or otherwise destroyed the psychological effects on the child’s upbringing are very prominent. The circulating images of child porn are a reminder of torment for victims. There have even been cases in which a victim sought restitution from everyone who downloaded the the child porn image.
Child pornography is a major social problem because it is a crime that does not only effect the loved one’s of the victim; it is an anti-social behavior that adversely affects the entire community. As such, punishments are particularly harsh for possessors, producers, and distributors of child porn. Neither the government nor society should ever tolerate this crime.

What You Have to Know About Child Pornography Laws

What You Have to Know About Child Pornography Laws

Child pornography laws are written in the federal law books. They are federal laws because the trafficking of these images often constitute interstate commerce. Therefore, the federal government has jurisdiction over many cases of child pornography. Naturally, cases in which the unlawful material is trafficked within a state, then the state has jurisdiction. 
States must meet the minimum federal standard of child pornography law but are entitled to add onto their statutes as they see fit. This article will only discuss the federal law because the facts of child pornography law are in common with all 50 states of the Union. The most basic legal definition of child pornography is a sexually explicit image or film of a person under 18 years of age. Child pornography can appear in all forms of printed and digital media. Child pornography law applies to indecent images of both heterosexual or homosexual sex.
It also does not matter if all of the actors in the production of the images are children or a combination of adults and children. Images of children engaging in bestiality also are applicable to the crime to child pornography law. Child pornography also applies to intentional public or private exhibition of a nude minor. They are all illegal.
Child pornography law does not apply to artistic depictions of nude youths. Drawings, sculptures, cartoons, and paintings do not apply to child pornography as long as they do not depict children involved in a sexually explicit act.
The images in question in most cases of child pornography are of a graphic nature; depicting real scenes of the unlawful sexual exploitation of a child under 18 years of age. Child pornography law is also applicable to simulated images of child pornography. Simulated child pornography is a controversial issue in the porn industry because it is unclear what constitutes simulated child pornography. 
Federal child pornography law does not define what simulating child pornography means; therefore, many states have added provisions to clarify the definition of simulating child pornography. Some states have adopted child pornography laws that define simulated child pornography as any pornographic image depicting an adult that looks under 18 years of age. These state statutory provisions to the basic federal child pornography law are mostly ineffective because the jurisdiction of the Internet falls under the federal government.
Law and Technology in Child Pornography
There is ongoing debate between free-speech advocacy groups and the US Department of Justice on the proper definition of simulated child pornography. The DOJ argues that pornography that has adults of legal age portraying minors should be illegal because it glorifies pedophilia. Free-speech advocacy groups do not agree with that assertion stating that the actors are legally expressing themselves in a legal but distasteful manner. 
Digitally altered images that simulate youthful appearance are also a topic of debate between the DOJ and free-speech advocacy groups. These images teeter on the edge of child pornography because they depict a pornography model of age but the images are digitally altered to appear younger than 18 years of age. 
Even 18-year old that appear younger are subject to debate in determining the disputed definition of simulated child pornography in federal child pornography law. Rapidly changing technology changes existing definitions of laws and could lead to rigorous debate over the appropriate nature of a legal issue.

What are the Charges of Child Pornography

What are the Charges of Child Pornography

Criminal charges associated with child pornography cover all activities pertaining to the viewing, distribution, promotion, production, and sale of illegal images of child pornography. All activities related to child pornography are not tolerated by the law. Law enforcement agencies do many sting operations to charge and arrest child pornographers. The law shows very little discretion for anyone facing child pornography charges.
The consequences of child pornography charges are immense. These criminal charges can be extremely damaging to one’s standing in the community as people guilty of this crime are rightfully ostracized by the community. Child pornography charges may be extremely damaging to an innocent person’s reputation because people are often skeptical of an innocent verdict in such an offensive crime. Those who are facing child pornography charges and are subsequently convicted will face serious time in prison. They will also be required to register as a sex offender if or when they are released from prison.
Defense of child pornography is difficult because juries are very unforgiving in cases of child pornography. Lawyers have trouble proving that the viewing or clicking of a fake link leading to a child pornography image was accidental. Even if a hard drive that previously stored child pornography was deleted; the information on those hard drives may be recovered by computer forensics specialists. Tampering with hard drives strengthens the case of the prosecution. Prosecuting those with child pornography charges is relatively easy because forensic technology is on law enforcement’s side.
These extremely serious charges should be a deterrent to anyone who dares to do anything that has to do with child pornography. Law enforcement, the public, and judges show no mercy to people guilty of this crime. Child pornography charges are generally most severe for producers. Producers of child pornography are often not only charged with child pornography. A child pornographer’s criminal charges come with a multitude of secondary charges that multiply the prospective time in prison. 
Most child porn suspects are charged with secondary criminal charges due to the cursory nature of their criminal behavior. Viewers of child pornography create a market for child pornography so serious criminal charges apply to them as well. Child pornography charges are among the most serious criminal charges pertaining to sex crimes. The Internet is not as anonymous as people think and law enforcement is constantly adopting new technologies to keep the Internet free of child pornography. The criminal justice system also seeks to eliminate the production of child pornography with the most serious charges reserved for producers, promoters, and distributors of child pornography.

Protect Your Children from Sexting

Protect Your Children from Sexting

The term “sexting” is an informal expression for the sending of sexually explicit text messages. Sexually explicit text messages are an unfortunate by-product of the communications revolution of this current era. A sexually explicit text message could be a sent in both SMS and MMS forms of text messaging. However, most cases involving sexually explicit text messages that depict pornographic images of children are of the multimedia messaging service form of cellular phone based messages. 
The circulation of unlawful pornographic images of children is mostly perpetrated by children themselves. As a result, teenagers with cell phones send each other sexting messages on their cell phones and get charged with distributing child pornography. Child pornography, in most jurisdictions, constitutes the sexually indecent portrayal of minors below the age of 18 in the nude or doing sexual acts.
Teen sexting is a problem that is more common than expected; approximately one in five teenagers admit to having participating in teen sexting. Most teenagers do not understand that the act is illegal because they are distributing sexually explicit images of themselves, among themselves. That is the case if they ever even consider the act of sexting as a form of child pornography in the first place. 
Teenagers in New York, Alabama, and Wisconsin have already been arrested, convicted, or are facing child pornography charges for sending sexually explicit text messages. Teen sexting is a big problem in which every parent and teenager should be aware.
Sexting of images depicting people above the age of the majority, 18, is legal. However, it is important to make sure that the person receiving the sexting message is of legal age to view pornographic images (usually 18 or 21, depending on jurisdiction). Despite the legality of this act, one should exercise caution when choosing who to send a sexting message too. 
Upon the reception of that image, it legally becomes the property of the recipient allowing him or her to do what he or she likes with the image; including posting them on the Internet. In lawsuits involving defamation, truth is a viable defense. Therefore, the act of posting a nude image on the internet implicitly consents to the publication of nude pictures as long as the pornographic image is not depicting anyone under 18 years of age.

Sentencing and Punishment of Child Pornography

Sentencing and Punishment of Child Pornography

An unfortunate side-effect of the rapid expansion of the Internet is the relative ease of producing, promoting, distributing, possession, and viewing of child porn. Child porn suspects should beware because they are not as anonymous as they may think. 
Many law enforcement agencies have task forces dedicated to the eradication of child porn related material on the Internet. Public outcry and the heinous nature of this serious crime have also made child porn suspects a target of district attorneys and judges across the country. The public desires particularly harsh punishment for criminals engaged in any act of child pornography.
Men and women who are found guilty of this form of illegal sexual exploitation will face many years in imprison with the parole a slim possibility. After a convicted child pornographer is eventually released from prison; the convict is required to register as a sex offender. The registered sex offender is required to notify his or her neighbors and local schools of the crime he or she had committed in the past. The punishments resulting from a child pornography conviction are serious and can have a permanent negative impact.
Generally, the worst punishments are reserved for the producers of child pornography. However, there have been cases in which child porn suspects were given a whopping 200-years in federal prison. 
Child pornography is a federal violation subjecting child porn suspects to some of the harshest punishments the criminal justice system can deal within the scope of what is not cruel and unusual. The public sees the government as doing its duty to protect the public from the unlawful sexual exploitation of children. Federal law gives the least serious sentences to suspects who attempt to view child pornography.
In any case, child porn suspects face the harshest sentencing within the scope of the law. Child pornography is not a capital offense. Therefore, the death sentence is ruled out. However, a child porn suspect is basically subject to any prison sentence short of capital punishment. 

MS-13 Member Charged for Child Sex Trafficking

MS-13 Member Charged for Child Sex Trafficking

On October 5, 2012, the Eastern District of Virginia announced that Adonay Fuentes (“Cheesy or “Crazy Boy”) of Prince George’s County in Maryland was arrested for his role in a child sex trafficking ring.  The ring was run by the Mara Salvatrucha 13 (MS-13) street gang.  

U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride stated, “This arrest marks the twelfth gang member we have charged with child sex trafficking.  We hope gang members and other pimps realize they face serious prison time for profiting from forcing these children in sexual slavery.”

According to the FBI and court records, Fuentes is an active member of the Normandie Locos Savatruch (NLS) branch of MS-13 and conspired with other gang members to enforce and maintain a juvenile prostitution scheme.  The scheme occurred for several months, and at least three teenage girls were recruited into the prostitution scheme during those months.  

Fuentes is suspected of recruiting different customers, speaking with continuing customers, collecting fees from prostitutes and customers, transporting the underage prostitutes to have sex with clients, and providing the underage girls with alcohol and drugs.  

One victim was a runaway between the age of 15 and 16 during the time of the crime.  According to court documents, the girl was forced into prostitution after members of the gang threatened to hurt her boyfriends is she did not cooperate.  She was then forced to have sex with clients several times a day and every day during the week for at least a month.  

James W. McJunkin, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, stated: “The sex trafficking of an individual completely against their will, by force or threat of force, is a form of modern-day slavery.  The FBI and our partners on the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force will continue our focused effort to track down and bring to justice those who exploit our children and engage in human sex trafficking.”

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Previous Sex Offender Guilty in Child Pornography Production

Previous Sex Offender Guilty in Child Pornography Production

On October 4, 2012, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland announced that Terrance Dion Robinson of Baltimore pleaded guilty to eight counts of “sexually exploiting minors to produce child pornography.”  The FBI reports that Robinson was convicted of two crimes in the past that involved the sexual abuse of children.  

Robinson pleaded guilty to the charges.  During the plea agreement, Robinson stated that he produced images between 2007 and 2010 of prepubescent minors while he was alone with the minors.  Robinson also admitted that he used a file sharing program to download images and videos off the internet that contained child pornography.  He stored the images and videos on his laptop, his external hard drive, and other storage devices.  

On October 18, 2010, detectives searched his residence and seized his computer and other equipment.  The Child Abuse Unit under the Baltimore Police Department then conducted a forensic examination of the digital device and found images and videos that were produced by Robinson himself.  The digital devices contained more than 600 images and at least four videos of children engaging in sexual conduct.  

The forensic examiner examined Robinson’s computer, external hard drive, thumb drivers, flash drives, CDs, and DVDs and found that he searched for files, websites, and discussions that contained child pornography.  

The FBI reports that Robinson now needs to “register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).”

The FBI also reports that Robinson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years in prison.  He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison for each count of producing child pornography.  He will face a lifetime of supervised release, and his sentencing will occur on March 25, 2013.  

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Last Defendants Convicted in Huge Sex Trafficking Case

Last Defendants Convicted in Huge Sex Trafficking Case

On October 4, 2012, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas announced that the last three defendants were charged in the largest domestic sex trafficking case of all time for the Southern District of Texas.  The operation was called Operation Total Exposure, and at least one minor was rescued during the investigation.  The FBI reports that numerous other minors and adults have been returned to their families.  

The following defendants enter their guilty pleas in front of U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes: John Butler of Houston, Jamine Lake of Houston, and Ronnie Presley formerly from Houston.  All of the recent defendants were convicted of conspiracy of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.  Furthermore, Butler and Lake each pleaded guilty to one count of transportation, and Presley was convicted of two counts of transportation.  Lake was convicted of one count of coercion and enticement while Presley was convicted of two counts for the same charge.  

The previous defendants were William Hornbeak, Andre McDaniels, and Kristin Land who were all from Houston.  Records from the court showed that the defendants disguised the sex businesses as modeling studios, health spas, massage parlors, and bikini bars throughout the Houston area.  

Evidence presented to the court proved that the conspirators recruited women and minors to become prostitutes.  Certain members of the commercialized sex business transported the women and minors to Houston who had ties previous ties to Kansas, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida.  The FBI reports that many of the women were regularly beaten and threatened to make them cooperate.  All of the money was taken from the women and minors so the victims were fully dependent on the conspirators.  

The FBI reports that all of the defendants face 5 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for conspiracy.  The coercion and enticement charge carries a penalty of 20 years in prison, and transportation carries a penalty of 10 years in prison.  

Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Know the Age of Consent for a Minor

Know the Age of Consent for a Minor

In the United States, there are laws and regulations that are in place in regards to the minimum age an individual must be in order to legally engage in sexual intercourse or sexual activities. The age of consent is implemented with the purpose of protecting a minor from being taken advantage of in a sexual way. The age of consent is meant to reflect an appropriate age at which a minor is capable of making a rational and informed decision in regards to his/her sexual identity and to properly choose to engage in sexual activity if they wish. In the United States, the age of consent will vary from state to state, though usually it will range between 16 and 17 years of age. Engaging in sexual activity with a minor that is under the age of consent is considered to be a crime in the United States, which is known as statutory rape. 
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