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Child Pornography

The legislature has determined that child pornography offenders harm the mental health of abused children. At the same time, the consumption of child pornography, encourage others to commit the hands-on sexual abuse needed to produce that material. For these reasons, both federal law and the laws in the State of New York provide for harsh penalties.

When explaining the seriousness of these charges, prosecutors often point to studies that suggest that an offender who compulsively seeks out pornographic depictions of multiple children, usually by downloading multiple files on the Internet, has a significantly increased likelihood of reoffending.

Attorney for Child Pornography in Manhattan

If you were accused of being in possession of child pornography in Manhattan or the surrouding areas of New York City then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Greco Neyland, PC. We provide our clients an aggressive defense at every stage of the case. Never speak to the police until after you have sought out experienced legal counsel. 

Call our attorneys to discuss any allegation that you committed a sexually motivated crime including child pornography. Call (212) 951-1300 today.


Policy Behind Child Pornography Penalties in New York

According to the New York Board’s Position Statement, impulsive behavior, sexual interest in children and compulsive behavior such as downloading many child pornography files and cataloging them significantly increase an offender’s likelihood of sexual recidivism. See R. Karl Hanson & Kelly Morton–Bourgon, Predictors of Sexual Recidivism: An Updated Meta–Analysis 2004–02 at 1, 9, 15–17, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada; Jim Tanner, Digital Technology Use Factors Which Indicate increased Sex Offender Investment in Digital Sexual Content at 4, 7, KBSolutions Inc. (2010).

In its recent decision in Paroline v. United States, 572 U.S. ––––, 134 S.Ct. 1710, 188 L.Ed.2d 714 (2014), the Supreme Court of the United States discussed the harm inflicted by those who download child pornography files from the Internet, saying:

“The demand for child pornography harms children in part because it drives production, which involves child abuse. The harms caused by child pornography, however, are still more extensive because child pornography is a permanent record of the depicted child’s abuse, and the harm to the child is exacerbated by its circulation. Because child pornography is now traded with ease on the Internet, the number of still images and videos memorializing the sexual assault and other sexual exploitation of children, many very young in age, has grown exponentially….”

The Court went on explain the problems for one child victim, now grown, who explained: 

“Every day of my life I live in constant fear that someone will see my pictures and recognize me and that I will be humiliated all over again. It hurts me to know someone is looking at them—at me—when I was just a little girl being abused for the camera. I did not choose to be there, but now I am there forever in pictures that people are using to do sick things. I want it all erased. I want it all stopped. But I am powerless to stop it just like I was powerless to stop my uncle…. My life and my feelings are worse now because the crime has never really stopped and will never really stop…. It’s like I am being abused over and over and over again” (id. at ––––, 134 S.Ct. at 1717).


Federal Charges for Child Pornography

Under Federal, charges related to child pornography can include the following: 

  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A[a][5][B] relates to possession of child pornography;
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A) relates to the distribution of child pornography;
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(2)(A) relates to the receipt of child pornography; 
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1591[a][1], [b][1] relates to trafficking of a child; and
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2252A[a][2][A] relates to distribution of child pornography.

Possession of child pornography in violation of 18 USC § 2252A(a)(5)(B) under Federal law corresponds to the New York felony of possessing a sexual performance by a child (Penal Law § 263.16). 


New York Charges for Child Pornography

Under the laws in the State of New York, charges related to child pornography can include the following:

  • Penal Law § 263.16 relating to the possession of child pornography;
  • Penal Law § 263.16 relating to possessing a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony;
  • Penal Law § 263.11 – 16 relating to the course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree;
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child; and
  • Obscenity in the third degree.

In New York, a person is guilty of possessing child pornography not only by having such material in his possession or control but when he “knowingly accesses with intent to view” such material. L.2012, ch. 456 (amending Penal Law §§ 263.11; 263.16). 


Search Warrants in Child Pornography Cases

An investigation might begin when an internet search engine or service provider detects child pornography and then reports the contraband to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). After verifying the information, the NCMEC then reports ito the appropriate law enforcement agency. The law enforcement agency will then usually secure a search warrant, relying upon, among other things, the actions of NCMEC and the internet search engine or service provider. 

For instance, images uploaded to a Google Picasa account can be detected by Google. The detection can be confirmed by means of a manual human review and subsequently reported to NCMEC’s CyberTip line. 

Google, for instance, uses proprietary software to flag confirmed child sexual abuse material. That material is assigned a digital “fingerprint” or hash value. When Google’s system comes across a hash that matches that of a known image already in the system, they may conduct a manual human review to confirm that the image contains apparent child pornography. Other platforms, including Facebook, use similar techinques.

Detective can then subpoenas to the internet search engine or service provider and relevant cellular service providers to determine who the accounts belong to and when they were uploaded. The detective can then obtain a search warrant for a home or office to seize property, including computer equipment, electronic media storage devices, cameras, cellular telephones and physical records. 

The search warrant application can also request authority for forensic examination of any electronic devices recovered as a result of the search. In many cases, the people accused of child pornography or promoting a sexual performance learn of the investigation during the execution of a search warrant. The search warrant often target a computer seized from a home or office. 

The police detectives who applied for the warrant allege in the warrant application that the investigation involved certain software available to law enforcement agencies to investigate peer-to-peer file sharing networks, and through the use of this, and other programs and databases, ultimately identified an Internet Protocol address registered to the defendant’s home or office as having shared files on a peer-to-peer network, which contained child pornography.


Additional Resources

Internet Crimes Against Children in New York – Visit the website of the New York State Police to learn more about internet crimes against children and ways to submit an ICAC tip. Also find information on New York’s Task Force for Internet Crimes Against Children which is federally funded. The task force joins the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, and the New York State Police. The public is urged to report crimes to the help line at 1-877-474-KIDS (5437) or the nearest police agency. Such crimes include Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors, Sexual Performance by a Child, Possession of the Sexual Performance by a Child, Promoting the Sexual Performance by a Child, and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.


Finding a Child Pornography Lawyer in Manhattan

After an accusation of being in possession of child pornography under either state or federal law find an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you. An aggressive defense is needed at every stage of the case. 

Our attorneys provide a free consultation to discuss the case. Call us today to find out more.

This article was last updated on Thursday, June 9, 2016.

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