Child Pornography Attorney in Pennsylvania

Child pornography (CP), also known as sexual abuse of children, is a very serious crime in Pennsylvania, and facing charges is a nightmare for anyone. Punishments are severe, and prosecutors tend to be unwilling to negotiate. On top of prison terms, fines and sex-offender registrations, those convicted of this crime face the social stigma of an especially notorious offense. All of these are reasons why it is critical to pursue a vigorous defense strategy from the start.

If you are facing CP charges in the Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced child pornography defense attorney in Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.

Child Pornography: Sexual Abuse of Children in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse of children statute, it is illegal to make, possess or distribute child porn.

First, it is a second-degree felony to photograph, videotape or otherwise record a person younger than 18 engaging in prohibited sexual acts, which include all sex acts as well as nudity when it is used for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification. Violation is punishable by as many as 10 years in prison.

Second, it is a third-degree felony to knowingly distribute child pornography or possess it for distribution. Violation carries penalties of as many as seven years in prison on a first offense.

Finally, simple possession of child pornography is a third-degree felony with the same penalties on a first offense. On subsequent offenses, possession, whether simple or for distribution, can bring as many as 10 years. Child porn includes any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction, or other material depicting a child younger than 18 engaging in or simulating prohibited sexual acts. In addition to prison terms, a conviction for CP carries a mandatory 10-year sex offender registration.

Child Porn Online in Pennsylvania

Laws covering CP in Pennsylvania also apply online, where Internet service providers are required to remove or disable child pornography sites within five days of receiving notification from the state attorney general. They are not required to go searching for CP, but when they fail to disable sites after notification, their owners are subject to penalties including a $5,000 fine for a first offense, $20,000 for a second offense and $30,000 plus as many as seven years in prison for a third or subsequent offense.

Child Porn Defenses in Pennsylvania

Defenses to child pornography charges tend to focus on whether the alleged “child pornography” is really “pornography.” A defense attorney may also question whether it is “child” pornography. Determining what constitutes child “pornography” can be difficult. There is no cut and dried objective definition of a “sex act” and no universal explanation of what it means to use nudity for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification.

Pennsylvania law includes an exception for materials used for “bona fide educational, scientific, governmental or judicial purpose.” Furthermore, most expression is protected by the First Amendment. Child pornography is not, but some materials are borderline, leaving room for a defense in court.

Another potential defense approach may be to challenge the “child” element of child pornography by questioning the age of the alleged victim. This is a difficult defense to make under Pennsylvania law, however. For one thing, prosecutors do no need to produce the child to prove age; they can use expert testimony instead. For another, a defendant cannot argue that he did not know the age of the child, even if the child lied about it. The only way to go after an alleged child’s age is to challenge the prosecution’s expert testimony.

If you or a loved one are in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with child pornography, call Brian Manchester, an experienced child pornography defense lawyer in Pennsylvania. He can help you build the defense you need today.

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