Texas Teenager Faces Child Pornography Charges over iPod Photos

Authorities arrested a 17-year-old student from Katy, Texas last week, allegedly for possessing child pornography. This case points to some potentially surprising aspects of anti-child pornography statutes - these laws give prosecutors a lot of flexibility to bring aggressive charges whenever a sexual image of a minor is involved.

To start with, this situation illustrates once again that mere possession of child pornography can be a serious crime. This 17-year-old defendant apparently only had inappropriate images on his iPod. Most child pornography prosecutions involve large collections, sometimes including hundreds of thousands of images and videos stored on large hard drives. As this arrest demonstrates, however, the law prohibits even a relatively small number of illegal images on a small media player.

Another unusual aspects involved here is the defendant's age. As a minor himself, this student may have thought that the child pornography laws did not apply to him. This is incorrect - unlike age-of-consent and statutory rape laws, a defendant's age has nothing to do with child pornography prosecutions.

Finally, some of the images apparently depict his female classmates. It is unclear how the student got these pictures but the police believe the girls in the photos are minors. That alone makes it illegal to possess, store or distribute the files.

Child pornography statutes can be harsh and their broad coverage allows prosecutors to bring cases in some surprising contexts. This is just one example of how important it is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer when facing any stage of a child pornography investigation.

Source: Gant Daily, "Texas teen charged in child pornography case," Jan. 18, 2013

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