Federal Government Cracks Down on Sexual Exploitation of Children
The United States Department of Justice has a website specifically designed to alert the public about what happens to people who are involved with the sexual exploitation of children in the United States which is defined under 18 U.S.C. § 2251.
This has become a huge political issue across the country and the Federal government and their prosecuting agencies and Federal agents have huge task forces set up to stop people from engaging in the exploitation of children on all fronts.
Sexual Exploitation of Children on the Internet
Over the course of the past twenty-five years, I have seen developments in the Federal area of prosecuting sex crimes related to children. Since the internet has come in to play and people have been doing things on the internet that are associated with exploiting children for sexual purposes, the Federal government has set up task forces and laws designed to stop these people from doing this.
There are mandatory minimum sentences of 5, 10, 15 and 20 years related to activities involving children and their exploitation. Federal agents are all over the internet and are arresting people all over the internet that lead them to other people.
The common thing that I see is once the Federal agents get information and email and IP addresses related to people who are involved in receipt, distribution and production of child pornography, they then send their agents to that person's house with a search warrant.
They come into the house either forcibly or they're let in and they take all of that person's devices – computers, phones, tablets, and then they interview the person and see if they can get them to acknowledge if they're the only one that uses those devices and even acknowledge that they are in possession and have received child pornography.
They'll also look on the computer right there and see if they can find any downloads and then ask the person about it and see if they can get them to incriminate themselves.
Once they seize all these devices, it usually takes them anywhere from six months to a year, or even longer, for their forensic computer experts to go through the devices and see what's on there.
In trying to encrypt the devices and put passwords on it, is not going to stop these experts from finding whatever's been downloaded on that particular device. Then eventually, they will give it to a prosecutor and the person will be prosecuted for whatever is found on the computer and whatever activities that they were involved in.
I get involved in these cases early and I will contact the agents and the prosecutors after everything has been seized and I will let them know that I am on the case.
I will also them know that I'm available to answer any of their questions and cooperate with them so we can get a leg up on things and hopefully avoid you being arrested six months to a year down the line and we can work things out with them if they actually do find child pornography, so that things can be dealt with in a civil manner.
Social Media and the Sexual Exploitation of Children
Social media is also being used to exploit children across the country. The authorities know this and there's all kinds of watch groups and different mechanisms designed to stop people who are involved in sexually exploiting children across the internet.
I have seen cases filed through people posting things and communicating on Craig's List, Facebook and a myriad of other platforms that are being utilized to receive and distribute child pornography.
The prosecutors are able to get subpoenas and get all the information and all the social media platforms will cooperate with them and then they get all the conversations that are being had, the photographs that are being delivered and videos, and if they have anything to do with the exploitation of children or child pornography, they will then track those IP addresses and come back and arrest anybody involved with that.
Exploiting Children in Other Countries Can Also Lead to Harsh Penalties
The United States government is not just involved with protecting children here in the United States. They are also involved in protecting children across the country.
There are numerous people who are attempting to travel to other countries and using mediums here in the United States to communicate with people in other countries, and their purpose is to for some sort of exploitation of children.
Under these circumstances, the Federal government will arrest the person and will prosecute them just as though the crime was being committed here in the United States.
All they need is some connection to the U.S. and some sort of interstate commerce where the person is utilizing the internet for example, or any of these social media platforms, and they can prosecute that person for whatever they're doing.
Whether it being distributing child pornography, producing child pornography, whether it be for just photographs, videos, this is an extremely prosecuted area of the law in current day and anybody being charged with these types of crimes should get in front of a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Strategy for Dealing with a Federal Sex Crime Related to the Exploitation of Children
I have the client come in, go over everything under the cloak of the attorney-client privilege. I utilize my twenty-five years of experience to try and figure out exactly how to best defend the case and mitigate any damages that might flow from it.
These damages again can be having to register as a sex offender, having to do a long prison sentence at 85% in Federal prison and losing your reputation and having a criminal record for life. So, what we like to do is get you in, we go over everything.
Obviously, your honest with us and tell us exactly what information you have related to the crime and then we will set about seeing what motions can be filed, what experts can be used, what investigation can be done in order to protect all your rights.
We get together a mitigation package if that is appropriate to talk about your character, your family, your friends, your job and all the good things associated with you.
Obviously, we're going to paint a much different picture than the government is attempting to paint of you, in an effort to try and turn the tide and protect your rights, your freedom and your liberty.