What is child pornography?
Child pornography refers to any material that depicts a minor engaged in sexual activity. It could be a magazine, book, text description, photograph or video. The minor in question must not have provided consent to participate in such acts.
Why is child pornography damaging?
Child porn can be very devastating for victims and their friends and family. Victims may be scarred for life. They could also have been physically, mentally or emotionally abused by the person or people who convinced or forced them into engaging in sadomasochistic abuse or sexual acts.
It can also impact a person’s future personal and romantic relationships. They may have low self-esteem or less self-confidence as a result. They could also have a difficult time concentrating, which can lead to difficulties in sustaining employment or keeping up with their studies in school. Victims may have a tough time trying to forget the acts that they were forced to partake in or how they were treated.
Is child pornography illegal?
It is illegal for anyone in the state of Maryland to own, produce or distribute child pornography. The laws prevent people from the following acts:
- Intentionally using a computer to receive, sell, buy, send, create, publish, compile, let, cause or distribute any kind of advertisement, notice or statement that includes a minor’s distinguishing data for the purposes of soliciting, offering, encouraging or facilitating any kind of sexual acts or sadomasochistic behavior with a minor. Identifying information can include the minor’s name, age, physical address, email address, phone number and any physical characteristics.
- Using a computer to show or describe a sadomasochistic act or sexual activity performed with a minor.
- Film or photograph a minor engaging in sexual conduct, obscene activities or sadomasochistic acts.
- Willingly let, convince, persuade or entice a minor into becoming involved in sadomasochistic acts, sexual intercourse or other types of obscene activities with another person.
- Own, disseminate, solicit, advertise or promote any type of materials that either shows a minor engaged in illegal sexual acts or would reasonably allow someone to presume that a minor has been involved in such activities.
Why do people distribute and develop child pornography?
There are many reasons why people choose to create, sell or disseminate child pornography. Some may use their positions of authority or power (as a school teacher, counselor, coach, babysitter, employer, parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, neighbor, etc.) to persuade their victims to engage in sexual acts that will be recorded for distribution and possible sale.
Others may be just looking for a way to make a quick buck. They could lack the skills or desire to seek a traditional job and prefer something that doesn’t take much time to make them considerable amounts of money. The more materials they produce, the more money they can make in many instances.
What are the penalties for creating or distributing child pornography?
A person who has committed one or more of the five infractions listed above could be ordered to pay a fine of up to $25,000 and serve no more than 10 years in prison for a first offense. These penalties can be doubled for additional violations. People who have been convicted of distributing or developing child pornography may also be required to register as a Tier II sexual offender. They can remain on the state’s sex offender registry for up to 25 years. However, if the accused was also convicted of other sex crimes in conjunction to the child porn charges, they may face maximum penalties of life imprisonment and being listed on the Maryland state sex offender registry for the rest of their natural lives.
There may be certain incidents in which a person is removed from the Maryland state sex offender registry before the requisite time period has expired. The person may have had their record cleared or expunged. If a person passes away before that time period is over, they will also be removed from the registry.
Offenders are usually expected to register after court-ordered supervision has ended or their jail term has expired. If they move to another state or country, they should take some time to learn the local laws and rules regarding sex offender registry. Failure to register in a timely manner could result in prison time, a fine and/or a warrant being issued for that person’s arrest.
What can I do if I’m a victim of child pornography?
If you or someone you know is a victim of child porn, the first thing that you should do is to contact your local law enforcement as soon as possible. Officers may ask for a statement, so it’s important to answer all questions completely and to the best of your knowledge. Victims may also seek medical services if they were injured or raped during the nonconsensual sexual activities.
The police report and hospital records may be administered into evidence if charges are brought against the perpetrator. If the case is brought to trial, the person who filed the initial petition will be known as the plaintiff. The person or persons who the charges were brought against will be referred to as the defendant or defendants.
What actions can I take if I’ve been accused of developing or disseminating child pornography?
You can represent yourself or enlist the aid of legal counsel if you’ve been charged with distributing or creating child pornography. The prosecuting attorney may have gathered evidence, witnesses and testimonies that you’ll have to reply to in most instances. Your side may be asked to examine or refute those items if necessary.
Being charged with child pornography distribution and creation brings many questions and uncertainties. Fortunately, we’ve got answers. Contact us today to set up a free consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down and listen to what you have to say. They can provide important insight and recommendations and may even represent you in court proceedings if you wish.
We want you to get back on your feet again as soon as possible. Just remember that things won’t improve right away. It’s going to take some time to rebuild trust and credibility with the people in your network. What you get out of that process depends on the time and effort that you put in. Setting goals and developing a plan for improvement will probably have you back to your happy self once again sooner rather than later.