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Accidentally Downloading Child Pornography

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), rarely does a week go by in the United States that someone isn’t charged or sentenced for sexually exploiting children on the federal level. “In coordination with local, state, federal, and international partners – both law enforcement and non-governmental organizations – the FBI devotes extensive resources to fighting the sexual exploitation of children,” says the FBI.

“The expansion of the Internet has led to an explosion in the market for child pornography,” according to the 2016 Department of Justice report to Congress. Who are the culprits? The FBI says that those who engage in producing and distributing child pornography come from “all walks of life.” They represent different ages, different backgrounds, and different socioeconomic classes. However, their crimes are typically carried out on the “dark web” where they can hide their actions from their husbands and wives, their children, and their other associates.

Producing, possessing and distributing child pornography are sex crimes that are criminalized under state and federal law. People typically commit this crime by downloading images of children being sexually abused or exploited over the Internet. In order to conceal these files, sometimes producers or distributors will mislabel them. Or, an individual may go to a site looking for adult images, only to accidentally stumble upon images of minors who are under the age of eighteen. In effect, innocent people can be charged with child pornography on the state or federal level.

To learn more about child pornography, visit the United States Department of Justice’s website by clicking here.

What if it Was an Accident?

Whenever an image or a video depicts a minor engaging in sexual conduct, posing in a sexual manner, or being sexually abused, it’s considered child pornography. Even if someone intentionally alters an innocent image to make it appear as child pornography, it can be considered child pornography.

If you are being charged with child pornography, we want to know:

  • Did you know it was child pornography?
  • Did you accidentally stumble upon child pornography?
  • Were the images of teenagers who appeared to be 18 or older?

If you accidentally ran across child pornography, that does not mean you committed a crime. On the other hand, if Internet investigators see a history of you visiting illegal websites and that you clearly downloaded numerous images on several occasions, it may be obvious that you knew what you were doing. If it’s an isolated incident, it may be more difficult for authorities to prove you actually broke the law.

Are you accused of producing, distributing or possessing child pornography in Oakland or anywhere in the East Bay? If so, contact our office for a strong defense!

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