In almost every case involving child pornography prosecutors in Massachusetts are faced with what should be a difficult decision: to charge possession of child pornography or to charge distribution of child pornography. Let's look at some common facts. Rarely, if ever is a defendant caught with one image or a few images. This is because child pornographic materials are accessed through file share programs. The files that people receive though peer to peer networks usually contain scores if not hundreds of images. Under Massachusetts law this permits the prosecution to charge the more severe felony, distribution of child pornography. And usually, the prosecution does just that, it charges distribution. However the charge of possession, a lesser included felony is typically charged as well. This post examines why that is done and some thoughts on defending these cases.
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Possession, Distribution of Child Pornography Against Former Peabody Cop Charged Following Computer Search
Late last week Julie Manganis of the Salem News reported that Joseph Ferrante, a retired Peabody, Massachusetts police officer has been charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography. Both charges are felonies in Massachusetts.
In September of the year a Massachusetts State Trooper got onto a file-sharing website and obtained information that a Comcast customer was viewing child pornography. The officer subpoenaed the Comcast information and learned that the IP address was registered to Ferrante. With that a search warrant was secured and served on Ferrante's home last Monday. Ferrante was questioned during the execution of the warrant and admitted that he had viewed the illicit material but denied storing it on his computer. A preliminary search revealed the existence of evidence of the crime on the computer. A more thorough search of the computer will be conducted over the next several months.
Essex County Sex Crimes Lawyer
Being a criminal defense lawyer I have concerns about the representations that Ferrante actually admitted to having committed these very serious crimes. As a former cop he has to know that anything he says will be used to prosecute him. He also has to know that proving these cases is extremely difficult, unless of course the suspect confesses to the crime. Computers in private residences are rarely secured. Family members, guests, friends, etc. regularly go onto a household computer. Thus, proving that the subscriber is the guilty party is difficult. A successful prosecution becomes even more difficult if the IP address is not secured. Anyone within the range of the wireless mechanism can access the Internet if it is not secured. This makes it appear that the subscriber is using the Internet when in fact it is somebody else. This happens more than you may think, particularly in restraining order violation cases where the defendant is being set up by the "victim". Assuming Ferrante knew any of this you have to wonder why he would admit guilt to the police. Or did he?
I have defended many Child Pornography cases in Massachusetts and on only one occasion did the prosecution attempt to proceed without a confession. In all of these cases the link to the defendant that made the case provable was the defendant's confession. Again, this shows that nothing good can come from talking to the police. You have a constitutional right to remain silent. It was given to you for a reason. Use it. If you have any doubt call a criminal lawyer. I can assure that the advice will be the same. Keep your mouth shut.
Massachusetts Man Arraigned in Newburyport on Charges of Possession of Child Pornography, Unlawfully Videotaping People in the Nude
David Anderson of Salisbury, Massachusetts has been charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Unlawfully Videotaping Persons in the nude. According to a report in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Anderson's former wife found nude video pictures of unsuspecting young female relatives. The girls were between the ages of ten and thirteen. She contacted police in Newtown, Connecticut, a town where Anderson also resides. The police in Connecticut contacted the Salisbury, Massachusetts police who in turn applied for and obtained a Search Warrant. According to authorities, computer hard drives were seized and analyzed. On them are thousands of images of young women. The women came into contact with Anderson through internet advertisements offering money in exchange for internal examinations. The examinations consisted of digital intrusions that were photographed. Anderson's activities might have occurred over the course of several years. The case in now pending in the Newburyport District Court but will likely be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem. Anderson has a pending Child Pornography case pending in another state.
Child Pornography Possession Attorney in Massachusetts
So how would a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer defend a case like this one? The answer is pretty simple. Get the search declared unconstitutional and it is unlikely that the prosecution will be able to go forward with its case. How likely is that? Well, that all depends on how well the affidavit in support of the Search Warrant was written. In cases like this one the credibility of the person providing law enforcement the initial incriminating evidence is at issue. In this case that person is Anderson's former wife. Since she is not identified as a "confidential informant" the standard for determining her credibility is somewhat relaxed. She receives an enhanced status when her credibility is being evaluated. One Massachusetts case stated that someone who witnesses a crime should be deemed reliable without needing to show prior reliability. In this case there should be a caveat to that. One can reasonably conclude that a former spouse's credibility might be in doubt where the relationship is shown to be hostile. Thus, there would need to be independent corroboration to the allegations made by Anderson's wife in this case.
This article suggests that Anderson might have additional problems developing in the near future. The police are trying to identify the women whose images were taken during the "examinations". As they come forward I would expect the charges to mount along with the strength of the district attorney's case. Defending this case is not going to be an easy task and the consequences of a conviction will likely implicate a jail sentence.
Lawrence Massachusetts Sex Offender, 70, Found in Possession of Child Pornography, Charged with Massachusetts Sex Crimes
The manager of a rooming house in Lawrence, Massachusetts found a laptop in the laundry room that she believed belonged to one of the tenants. Rather than return it the woman opened it and found images of Child Pornography. She then called the police. It was determined that the computer belonged to Gerard Anthony Burbine, a registered sex offender. Lawrence police then secured the laptop. They obtained a Search Warrant and a search of its contents confirmed the presence of Child Pornography. Burbine was previously charged with and convicted of Possession of Child Pornography for which he received a jail sentence. Right now, according to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune Burbine is being held on thirty thousand dollars bail for Enticing a Minor to be Exhibited in a State of Nudity. The case is being prosecuted in the Lawrence District Court but will probably be moved to the Essex County Superior Court in Salem, Massachusetts.
Lawrence Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer
I imagine that Burbine is being charged under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29A. That statute prohibits anyone from enticing someone whom he knows or should know is under eighteen years old from enticing that person to be exhibited in a state of nudity. A conviction for that offense is a felony for which there is a ten year minimum sentence. The article here makes no mention of facts that support this charge. Thus, I can only assume that during the forensic examination of the computer there were some emails or chat line communications located that suggested some sort of enticement.
Any Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer will tell you that there are always defenses to cases like this one. It is likely that the rooming house has one IP address that the tenants share thereby making internet access easy for everyone. The fact that the laptop was found in the laundry room suggests that someone other than Burbine was using it. Think about it. Why would he need the laptop in the laundry room? And, if he was using it there why would he leave it there? People living in rooming houses have limited means and are inclined to protect their personal belongings, not leave them in open areas. Aside from the device, what links Burbine to the illicit activity? Did anyone see him perusing the unlawful material? Are there any personal identifiers showing that he was the person who accessed the Child Pornography? Perhaps there is nothing more than stated in this article thereby making a prosecution of this case more difficult that it initially appears.
Yesterday a Marblehead, Massachusetts man was arraigned on Child Pornography Charges in the Lynn District Court. The thirty three year old defendant was charged with Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography. Authorities stated that an Essex County Internet Crimes Task Force identified the defendant in the course of one of its investigations. A Search Warrant was obtained and executed at his home. A computer was seized and searched. On it the police found about one hundred lime wire files depicting children engaged in pornographic acts. The basis of the distribution allegation centers on the use of a file sharing service. Bail was set in the amount of ten thousand dollars. The defendant's lawyer asked that the case file be sealed pending a resolution of the case. He stated that a release of this information prior to trial would create irreparable harm regardless of the outcome of the case. The judge temporarily allowed the request citing non-compliance with the Massachusetts Uniform Impoundment laws.
So what are the Massachusetts Uniform Impoundment Rules? In Massachusetts a party is allowed to file a motion for the impoundment of certain materials provided the motion states sufficient grounds and is supported by an affidavit. The motion must state with particularity the material the party seeks to impound. A time period for impoundment must be stated. The request for impoundment can be made prior to the filing of the objectionable material. In some instances third parties have the right to be heard in opposition to a motion to impound. Impoundment may be allowed only after a showing of "good cause". Good cause contemplates the nature of this matter, the type of information that his being requested to be impounded, the reasons for the request and the interests of the community in general. Orders of impoundment may be modified. Appeals of these orders are brought before a single justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
An Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer would want to use this rule in a case like this one. The allegations against the defendant are heinous. Anytime a search of this defendant's name is entered these charges and the article will appear regardless of the outcome of the case. Concealing the details of this case and the data identifying the defendant to these allegations is a great strategy particularly in cases where lawyers are confident that a favorable result will follow for their client. The problem however is that the public oftentimes has access to this material prior to the case being brought forward in court. This can make the application of the impoundment rules improbable.
According to a report in the Barnstable Hyannis Patch, Kevin McNicol of Hyannis, Massachusetts has been charged in the Massachusetts Federal Court for Sexual Exploitation of a Child. Authorities allege that McNicol had a minor engage in sexually explicit acts for the purpose of transmitting a video of that act. The crime occurred in April of 2004. McNicol's home was searched on May of last year at which time his computer was seized. An analysis of the computer hard drive disclosed the presence of Child Pornography created through a web cam.
The article does not disclose under which statute McNicol was charged. I would imagine however that 18 U.S.C. Section 2251 applies here. That statute makes it a crime for anyone to entice, persuade or coerce a minor to engage in explicit sexual conduct for the purpose of transmitting a live depiction of such conduct. The sentence for a conviction under this statute mandates fifteen years in federal custody and has a maximum sentence of thirty years in prison.
There is an unusual defense to this crime. Federal case law has held that if a defendant shows by clear and convincing evidence that he was not aware that the actor was under the age of eighteen he can avoid a conviction. Unlike Statutory Rape laws in Massachusetts, this statute permits someone to defend the case on the basis that he made a good faith mistake as to age. There is a caveat to this however. The First Circuit Court of Appeals has not addressed this issue and the supporting authority comes from the 8th, 9th and 11th Circuits.
The challenges to sentences under this law have not been very successful making it all the more important that anyone charged with this crime hire an experienced Massachusetts Federal Crimes Lawyer.
So how is the defendant going to fight these charges? For one thing, anytime there is a Search Warrant issued lawyers look to see if the warrant violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the accused. Was there probable cause to issue the Search Warrant? Does the supporting affidavit provide sufficient evidence that the crime was committed and that the items searched would likely contain evidence of the commission of the crime? Sometimes in cases like this there is a live issue as to who actually orchestrated the criminal act. The mere presence of the illicit material does not necessarily mean that the person viewing it is responsible for the creation of the act. Nor for that matter is it always clear that child pornography on a one person's computer means that he or she is responsible for downloading or viewing it. The age of the victim and his or her role in the act is important for reasons stated above. Differences in age between the defendant and victim can also have an effect on the sentence imposed in the case. It is important to remember that no matter how severe the accusation there is always a defense to criminal charges and the ability to mitigate any sentence that might be imposed.
Needham Massachusetts Man Charged With 5 Counts of Possession of Child Pornography After Co-Workers Find Images on Laptop
Last Thursday, Keith Millan was charged with five counts of Possession of Child Pornography in the West Roxbury District Court. According to a report on Boston.com, Millan was an employee at a local property management company. It is alleged that co-workers found Child Pornography on his laptop. Images were also found on some compact discs and an external hard drive. Millan is a resident of Needham, Massachusetts. The images were characterized as disturbing and violent. Bail was set in the amount of twenty five thousand dollars cash.
As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I am seeing Child Pornography cases in being charged at an exponential rate. Online child pornography is one of the fastest growing internet based businesses worldwide. Just over three years ago there were over one thousand five hundred child abuse domains, more than one half of which were housed in this country. The demand for this material is growing at an alarming rate. One source estimated that back in 2005 the child pornography industry was grossing three billion dollars per year. There are studies that show that about forty percent of child pornography possessors had also had unlawful sexual contact with children. It is this fact that has prompted many Massachusetts prosecutors to advocate for more stringent penalties for people charge with Possession of Child Pornography even though Distribution of Child Pornography is considered the more serious offense in this state. These laws are getting tougher each time they are reviewed. There is a recent movement by federal prosecutors to have Congress increase the sentences for people convicted of child pornography possession cases. This is being watched closely by criminal lawyers in Massachusetts and throughout the country.
There are however problems inherent in most prosecutions for Possession of Child Pornography. Cases are charged when illicit images are found on someone's personal computer, laptop, smart phone or other device. The first and most natural tendency is to accuse the owner of the property of possessing the material. This is not always fair. Most people, even today, are relaxed about these devices. People share cell phones and computers. They leave these items out in the open for hours or days at a time not worrying about who might be using them. People receive certain emails or texts that they immediately open or download without first checking to see if they know the sender. Spammers send links to illicit websites under the guise of a friend, employer, marketer and even at times a government agency. There is an inclination to open these messages, read them and to sometimes innocently download the content. The owner of the device can at times be oblivious to the presence of these materials. If caught up in this type of situation there is a great need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer, one who has defending child pornography case in Massachusetts with success.
Tewksbury Massachusetts Man Charged With Child Pornography, Rape Of A Child, Other Sex Crimes After Caught In Modeling Scam
According to an article in today's Lowell Sun, Thomas Hutchinson has been indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on multiple Massachusetts Sex Crimes. The former Billerica, Massachusetts man was arrested this past July and initially charged in the Somerville District Court. It is alleged that Hutchinson pretended to work in the modeling field and that he would contact females through the internet. One girl sent him photographs and videotapes of herself in the nude. Hutchinson then threatened to post the nude images and videos live if the girl did not have sex with him. Hutchinson's home and car were searched by police from Tewksbury and Medford. The Search revealed Child Pornography images, chats with apparently underage girls and additional evidence of sex crimes. Now Hutchinson is facing charges of Rape of a Child, Indecent Assault and Battery, Attempted Extortion, Child Enticement, Assault with the Intent to Rape and Possession of Child Pornography. The case will be prosecuted in the Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts.
Child Enticement in Massachusetts is a felony. The law proscribing this behavior is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 26C. The law states that anyone who entices someone under the age of sixteen to enter or leave a building or vehicle with the intent to commit one of several enumerated crimes is guilty of Child Enticement. A violation of this law and a conviction for that violation subjects the defendant to five years in state prison. The word entice can mean lure, solicit, invite, persuade, coax or induce. There is an interesting aspect to this law. There is no requirement that the person enticed be a real person. Thus, there is no defense of factual impossibility. The clear intent of this law is to catch and prosecute people who victimize children and to deter this type of behavior.
Attempted Extortion in Massachusetts is a crime pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 25. That law makes it a crime to threaten to accuse someone of a crime or to use power or authority to extort money or a monetary advantage from someone. This crime is also a felony and is punishable by up to fifteen years in state prison.
The two crimes discussed above might just be the least of Hutchinson's worries. The Rape of a Child and the Possession of Child Pornography cases are perhaps the most serious allegations in this case. While the Rape allegation is not detailed in the Lowell Sun article I surmise from the context of this indictment that the girl "agreed" to having sex with Hutchinson to avoid the publishing of the nude photos and videos. In a legal sense this constitutes "force". What just might save Hutchinson from an extremely lengthy sentence would be his age. He is nineteen, not much older than the victim.
Framingham Massachusetts Man Faces Possession, Distribution Of Child Pornography Charges After Images Found On His Computer
Yesterday a man from Framingham, Massachusetts was arraigned on charges that he was in Possession of Child Pornography and for Distribution of Child Pornography. The charges stem from an investigation that started in July and that was conducted by the Massachusetts State police. The article in the Metrowest Daily News states that the investigating officer was searching the internet for these illicit images and used a program to determine the origin of download for the materials. The results suggested to the officer that the man's computer was the source of the photos. At the arraignment hearing prosecutors offered that when confronted with the allegations the defendant denied having any computers. He further denied using peer-to-peer file sharing programs. A Search Warrant was applied for and granted. Officers raided the defendant's home and found a laptop with a large quantity of Child Porn on it. He was released on a modest bail. Right now charges are pending in the Framingham District Court.
I very often I have clients retaining me on Distribution of Child Pornography Cases in Massachusetts. Those who did in fact download the illicit material, either deliberately or inadvertently, are baffled when they are charged with distribution. They make clear that they never distributed the material to anyone and that a forensic examination of their computer will prove this. Well, what they do not know is that by accessing the material through file sharing programs or peer-to-peer networking they are in fact in violation of the Massachusetts and Federal Child Pornography Distribution laws. Now how can that be? File sharing as we know it today started with Napster, about ten or twelve years ago. Researchers believe that there may be as many as eighty million people in the United States who use file sharing programs in some way or another.
Peer-to-peer file sharing or P2P permits people to download files, games, music videos and more from other computers that are connected or "peers". What happens however is that now others can access that material from your computer. For legal purpose, at least right now, that constitutes distribution in Massachusetts and in Federal Court.
So what are some defenses to cases like this one? Certainly the defendant's intent can be argued to a jury. That a person intended to download only or simply "possess" the material is a decision that the jury can make. After all, distribution must be made knowingly. If the district attorney cannot prove that the person using a peer-to-peer program knew that his actions constituted distribution then an acquittal might be possible. Proving knowledge rests on many factors that may or may not be present in this case. What experience did he have with computers? This can be determined not only from the testimony of witnesses who are aware of his proficiency but also from an examination of his hard drive. What is actually on the hard drive? Was the defendant selling this material online? Was he engaged in chats that alerted people to the location of this material? Remember that the article states only that the state trooper conducting the investigation learned that Conley was downloading the materials. The forensic report for the hard drive in this case will answer many of these questions and to some extent guide the defense efforts.
Braintree Massachusetts Man Charged With Possession Of Child Pornography, Distribution Of Child Pornography
A sixty three year old Braintree, Massachusetts man was charged in 2009 with thirty one counts of Possession of Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography according to a report in the Quincy Patriot Ledger. The man, Francis Austin's competency became an issue resulting in a two year delay of the case. It is alleged that Austin's involvement in these acts was first detected by authorities in California who alerted Massachusetts officials to the activity. A Search Warrant was obtained for Austin's home. His computer was seized and on it investigators located the illicit materials. The case is being prosecuted in the Norfolk County Superior Court.
Massachusetts Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
There are times when a prospective client will "suggest" to me that he is incompetent to stand trial. They become disappointed very quickly when I explain to them the law on competency to stand trial in Massachusetts and the consequences of employing that approach. The test in Massachusetts for determining the competency of a person to stand trial is simple. The accused must have sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding and he must have a rational and factual understanding of the proceedings against him. Challenges to competency to stand trial are governed by statute, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 123 Section 15. That statute essentially works like this. At any time a judge can order a defendant to be evaluated for competency to stand trial. The defendant will then be examined by a qualified psychologist. The defendant can also be sent out for a twenty day period of observation. The time can be extended to forty days if necessary. At the end of the observation and evaluation period there will be a hearing on the issue of competency. If the judge finds that the defendant is not competent to stand trial then the case will be continued until he is ready to stand trial. So, as I tell my clients, they will most likely have to face the charges at some point. Until they do so they will be incarcerated, likely in the Bridgewater State Hospital, waiting for a determination that they are competent to stand trial. This is probably what happened to Austin. He was indicted in 2009. A challenge to his competency was made. The case was delayed and now he is competent to face the Child Pornography charges.
In sum, challenging a defendant's competency to stand trial is not a defense to a crime. It merely delays the prosecution. There will be a strong likelihood that during the delay the defendant will be incarcerated in a treatment facility. Eventually he will be in court defending the charges.
West Bridgewater Massachusetts Teacher, Coach Charged With Distribution Of Child Pornography In Federal Court, Faces Minimum Mandatory Sentence
Paul Teves was an eleventh grade school teacher working at the West Bridgewater High School. He also coached track. Now the thirty five year old stands charged with Distribution of Child Pornography in the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts. According to a report in the Brockton Enterprise, Teves used a screen name and described himself as a mother willing to pimp out her eleven year old daughter. Chats were either monitored or seized wherein Teves communicated with someone from Albuquerque who, once arrested cooperated and led officials to Teves. Teves was interviewed by investigating FBI agents. He admitted exchanging videos and stills of Child Pornography with others. It appears that Teves is not currently in custody.
The statute under which Teves is being prosecuted is likely 18 U.S.C. §2252. That law states that anyone who receives or distributes material that involves this use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and that depicts such conduct is guilty of a felony. A conviction of this offense is punishable by a minimum mandatory five year prison sentence.
Investigating these cases is often difficult and frustrating for law enforcement. People who engage in this type of conduct often do so from their homes. The mere fact that several people can live in one home and share the same IP address makes identifying the actual perpetrator difficult. Even if a person lives alone law enforcement officials know that unsecured IP addresses can be accessed by neighbors. Experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers can exploit this fact when filing Motions to Suppress unlawful Searches and Seizures. While identifying the source or origin of the illicit activity may be easy, putting a suspect's fingerprints on the keyboard is a much more difficult task. More often than not law enforcement agencies solidify their cases when they contact the suspect and get him or her to talk. The accused usually panics talk to the authorities. They think they can minimize the damage by admitting to wrongdoing and being cooperative. They are wrong. I have been practicing criminal law for over twenty four years and never once have I had a client who "talked his way out" of a criminal problem. The police are skilled at asking questions. The questions are designed to elicit certain answers. Once they get those answers their case strengthens. Also, rarely does a client come into my office, look at a police report and tell me "that is exactly what I said to them". The response is almost always "that is not what I said". This is why I always advise clients to say nothing and hire a lawyer. Lawyers are paid to protect you and to make sure that you do not jeopardize your legal rights by acting foolishly or on impulse.
Yesterday a Framingham, Massachusetts man was arraigned in the Middlesex County Superior Court after having been charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Distribution of Child Pornography. The defendant, Thomas Hannover was released on his own recognizance. The Metrowest Daily News article did not provide details of the allegations stating only that the charges followed a two year investigation and that Hannover possessed fifty five files that could be shared peer to peer. A condition of Hannover's release is that he stay away from children under the age of sixteen.
Massachusetts Child Pornography Possession/Distribution Defense Lawyer
Child Pornography Possession and Distribution are types of Internet Crimes. There are lots and lots of people who access Child Pornography on the internet and have absolutely no idea that their actions constitute "distribution". Now you are probably asking "how can that be?" The answer is easy. File sharing constitutes distribution for the purpose of Child Pornography Laws in Massachusetts. File sharing is the act of enabling access or distributing information that is stored digitally. You might remember Napster or Kazaa when they first came out. All you had to do was sign up and you could immediately search for, access and download music files for any artist for free. What you might now have known what that once these files were loaded people could access them from you computer and download them for their own use or actively distribute the songs. Well, even though you never openly said "come in and help yourself to my music" the act of joining up and using these programs constituted an act of distribution. The same applies here. If Hannover was using these programs so that he could possess the materials for himself, he was also permitting others to get into his files so that they too could view or download the Child Porn. District Attorneys in Massachusetts treat this as distribution, felony.
File sharing activities are being regulated by many governments throughout the world. This has been done to curb the erosion of certain areas of the entertainment industry, particularly the music industry. In many instances lawsuits were filed against people hosting peer to peer file sharing websites. On the criminal side prosecutors and law enforcement officials try to monitor these websites and prosecute people they believe to be exploiting children through these activities. Literally millions of Americans use peer to peer software. Sometimes downloading activities are done innocently or accidentally. Nevertheless, if caught these people are likely to face criminal charges making it imperative that they hire an Experienced Massachusetts Child Pornography Defense Lawyer.
Brian Racine is forty six years old. He is registered under Massachusetts law as a level three Sex Offender. He is now in the fight of his life, fighting allegations that he committed Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under the Age of 14, a Second or Subsequent Offense on several occasions back in 2008. The Lowell Sun has been reporting the trial. The victim, who was eight years old at the time of the alleged incident apparently testified that Racine put his hand in the boys' pants and moved his private parts. The two were watching a cartoon and the boy was sitting on Racine's lap. According to the prosecution the boy and his family were staying with Racine while looking for their own place to live. Within a couple of weeks the abuse started. The boy said nothing for a couple of days. Then, when his family left Racine's home the disclosure was made to his mother. Racine has been convicted on two other occasions of Sex Crimes. He was convicted in 1983 for an undisclosed offense. In 2003 he was convicted of Possession of Child Pornography if Federal Court. For that conviction he was sentenced to forty one months. Racine also faces prosecution for a 2009 case wherein he is accused of committing Rape of a Child with Force, Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under the Age of Fourteen, Second or Subsequent Offense and Assault With the Intent to Commit Rape. The current case is being prosecuted in the Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn.
In 2005, in response to a horrific crime, the state of Florida enacted a law that became known nationally as Jessica's Law. Jessica Lunsford was a nine year old who was killed by a sexual deviant who had been convicted of sex crimes against a child in the past. The law required lengthy minimum mandatory sentences for people who had been convicted of committing Child Sex Crimes. A bill similar to the Florida law was introduced to Congress but it never passed. That did not stop over forty states from adopting a similar law. The Massachusetts version is what Racine is being prosecuted under. The law in Massachusetts went into effect in 2008. The version of the law that Racine is defending against is codified in G.L. c. 265 §13B ¾. That section makes a conviction for this offense punishable by a minimum mandatory fifteen years in state prison. The prior Sex Crime Conviction enhances the sentence. In this case the outcome is simple. If the jury believes the victim, who is now eleven, Racine will serve at least fifteen years in prison. He could face up to life in prison. With a record like his and with a pending similar offense, no sentence would come as a surprise to a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer.
Two days ago Donald Slason of Dedham, Massachusetts was arrested. He has been charged with Possession of Child Pornography and Transportation of Child Pornography in the Massachusetts Federal District Court. No details other than the United States Attorney's press release were provided.
Massachusetts Federal Child Pornography Defense Lawyer
18 U.S.C. §2252 and 18 U.S.C. §2252A are the primary Federal Child Pornography Statutes. Federal law takes effect when the images are transported across state lines or when the image was created with materials that were transported across state lines. People sending this material to someone in the same state might still be subject to this law if the server for the email is in another state. Mailing Child Pornography triggers the viability of this statute. It is also illegal to download Child Pornography from internet websites. Anyone convicted for transporting or distributing child pornography is subject to a five year mandatory minimum prison sentence of five years. The federal statute has certain affirmative defenses built in to it. This however is not an exhaustive list of the potential defenses that can be set forth during the trial of these charges. Many downloads come in bulk transfers made unintentionally. This can occur through emails or file share programs. People innocently searching for certain information can inadvertently access and download child porn. For instance, the website whitehouse.com used to be a website containing adult content. People who searched for this site thinking they were looking up facts about our presidents' home were innocently surprised to find out that they were looking at something other than the White House. It is critical that anyone charged with this crime immediately contact an Experienced Child Pornography Defense Lawyer.
Thomas Donahue of Ayer, Massachusetts is a level three sex offender. He now stands accused of making videos of naked boys on the internet. Agents went to arrest him at his home the other day unsuccessfully. It is believed that Donahue is now on the run. Donahue has been under investigation since he sent Child Pornography to an undercover officer in Canada back in October of 2008. Suspicions were corroborated when a Colorado man was found with Child Porn on his computer. The man cooperated with Federal Agents and Donahue was caught sharing files with this man's computer. According to reports Donahue convinced boys between the ages of ten and sixteen to take off their clothes and perform sex acts while being filmed with a webcam. Eventually Donahue's computer was seized. On it authorities found thousands of images and videos the majority of which contained Child Pornography. Donahue has a prior Sex Crimes conviction.
All states have Child Pornography statutes as does the Federal Government. One of the most encompassing federal statutes dealing with this crime is 18 USC § 2251. As applicable to this case the statute make it a crime for anyone to use a child for visual depiction in sexually explicit conduct. A conviction for a violation of this law subjects the accused to up to thirty years in prison. For someone with a prior conviction such as Donahue it is likely that if convicted his sentence will be extremely high.