Sexual Abuse of Children Attorney in Pennsylvania

Being charged with sexual abuse of children (also known as child pornography) is a nightmare scenario. If you’re in this situation, you may feel no one is on your side. Your home or office may have been raided, your property seized. You may not know where to turn. Sexual abuse of children is a very serious felony charge, and obtaining qualified legal representation as soon as possible is crucial.

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

Sexual Abuse of Children: Child Pornography in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s sexual abuse of children statute is a child pornography law. Child pornography is defined as any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act. Several things are illegal under this law.

First, it is a second-degree felony, punishable by as many as 10 years in prison, to knowingly permit a child younger than 18 to engage in or simulate a “prohibited sexual act” in front of a camera. “Prohibited sexual act” means sex acts and nudity depicted for the purpose of sexual gratification or stimulation.

Second, it is a third-degree felony, punishable by as many as seven years on a first offense, to knowingly distribute child pornography or possess it for distribution.

Third, simple possession of child pornography is also a third-degree felony and carries the same penalties on a first offense. Subsequent possession convictions, whether simple or for distribution, carry penalties of as many as 10 years.

Sexual Abuse of Children: Similar Crimes in Pennsylvania

Sexual abuse of children is a crime that is often charged along with other similar sex offenses. If a defendant is accused of taking part in the sexual conduct that was taped or recorded, a number of additional charges are possible, from aggravated indecent assault, which carries penalties of as many as 20 years in prison, to child rape, which can lead to a life sentence.

Like these crimes, a conviction of sexual abuse of a child requires registration as a sex offender once a convicted defendant has been released from prison. In the case of sexual abuse of children, registration lasts 10 years.

Sexual Abuse of Children: Defenses in Pennsylvania

One of the most common defenses to charges of sexual abuse of children is that the materials in question don’t qualify as child pornography. Pennsylvania’s statute provides exceptions for materials that are used for “bona fide educational, scientific, governmental or judicial purpose.” Or the material may be covered by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees the freedom of expression.

Child pornography is not covered by this protection, but some materials are borderline. Another defense is that the children depicted in the seized material were in fact consenting adults. This is not an easy defense in many cases, however. For one thing, the prosecution does not need to produce the child to prove her age; this can be established through expert testimony. For another, it is not an admissible defense that a defendant did not know the age of a child, even if the child lied about her age.

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

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