In recent months there has been an increase in Child Pornography arrests.
There seems to be a common thread is some of those cases. Almost every one of the cases involves a peer to peer sharing program like Bit Torrent. Almost every case involves someone that clicked on a link telling them that they had to download a peer to peer program to proceed. Many people found themselves in a situation where unintentionally they “linked” to images or videos containing child porn. Even if they immediately deleted the unwarranted material, a secret law enforcement application had detected the fact they clicked on the link, and the law enforcement application secretly entered their computer and downloaded the material they were trying to delete. Is it is possible or likely that law enforcement agencies are intentionally luring people to click not on child pornography (which would be illegal) but instead tricking people into clicking on links to child pornography? Time will tell as these cases proceed through the courts.
Now that Craigslist and Backpage.com are tightening up on the “personal” ads (which they should have done years ago), the ICAC investigators are going to have to find a new way to entrap people. My prediction is that there is going to be a spike in child pornography prosecutions here in Florida. In Sarasota County many people face more time in State prison for looking at a video than actually committing a sex act. The best way to avoid prison is to not commit a crime. Do not let curiosity get the best of you. If you are on the Internet, and see a warning saying something like “the material you are about to see could be illegal”, do not proceed. Do not click on something out of curiosity. If you do, law enforcement will come into your computer. These are bait teaser links trying to get people to unintentionally commit a crime. As a sex crime lawyerI don’t want to see innocent people lured into doing something out of curiosity. Remember, “Curiosity killed the Cat”
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It is difficult to profile a person who gets involved with child pornography.
Viewers of child pornography come from all walks of life. Many of those involved tend to be white males between the ages of 26 and 40. Those involved include judges, doctors, professors, business leaders, academics, rock stars, soldiers and police officers. Most are heavy Internet users. There is a misconception that people who view child pornography go on to sexually abuse children. The statistics simply do not support this belief and in fact contradict it. People who view child pornography are not necessarily pedophiles. Less than ten percent, and according to some studies, as little as three percent are involved in abusing children. There are three basic categories of users.
Some people are simply browsers who out of curiosity view occasionally kiddie porn images, not saving the images or networking with others. Browsers often do not employ security strategies to avoid detection.In my experience as a child pornography lawyer, these are the ones that get caught the most often. As is often said, curiosity killed the cat.
Some people are what I call private fantasizers who view child porn to satisfy private fantasies. They generally do not network nor employ security to prevent detection. A person more deeply involved is the non-secure collector. They get the child porn in non secure chat rooms and are involved in networking. These offenders often get arrested because of interaction with other offenders and lack of security precautions. Further up the ladder is the “secure collector” that is heavily involved in collecting and gathering huge numbers of images categorized by types. The collection for them becomes an obsession.
Some people actually become “groomers”, physical abusers and producers of child pornography.
Unfortunately, in Florida, particularly here in Sarasota, law enforcement makes no distinction between the levels of offenders and treats all of them the same seeking long prison sentences. People are different and that is where the Florida Sentencing Guidelines fail to take into account the differences. As a sex crime defense lawyer, my job is to help the Court and the State attorney recognize the difference between those that deserve harsh punishment and others far down the ladder in terms of seriousness who need psychological treatment and counseling.