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.
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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.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman defends Sex Crimes in Massachusetts. We defend Child Pornography cases and cases involving the Enticement of Minors. Our offices are open 24/7. Call us anytime to discuss your case. We can be reached at 617-263-6800 or by email. Do not wait. Call a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney right now.