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Child Pornography Charges

One of the most common offenses involving child pornography in Pennsylvania is child sexual abuse/pornography that violates Crimes Code section 6312(d) as amended by the Act of March 31, 1995, P.L. 985, No. 10 (spec. sess. No.1), § 11, and the Act of November 20, 2002, P.L. 1104, No. 134, § 1.

The statute for possession of child pornography was changed effective September 14, 2009. Under the previous version of the statute, the act of accessing and viewing images of child pornography over the Internet was held to constitute “controlling” such material in violation of this section. (See Commonwealth v. Diodoro, 970 A.2d 1100, 1108 (Pa. 2009).)

In Montgomery County, PA, these investigations are aimed at protecting children from Internet predators in and around Norristown, PA. The investigations often involve cooperation between the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force and the Montgomery County Detective Bureau. Detectives with the ICAC focus on detecting and arresting alleged child predators. Many of these cases start with undercover, electronic communications exchanges utilizing a file sharing network. After determining the location of the computer being used to share files, the officers will obtain a search warrant and go to the location to seize computers and other evidence.

At a federal level, many of those cases are brought as part of the Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. These federal investigations into child pornography in Pennsylvania are led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet.

Attorney for Child Pornography Charges in Montgomery County, PA

If you were arrested for child pornography charges in Norristown or Montgomery County, PA, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Skinner Law Firm. Attorney Michael Skinner is experienced in fighting child pornography charges and related offenses throughout Montgomery County and the surrounding areas of Chester County, PA and Delaware County, PA. With offices conveniently located in Media in Delaware County and West Chester in Chester County, PA, Attorney Michael Skinner is ready to begin your defense today.

Elements of Child Pornography in Pennsylvania

One of the easiest ways to explain a charge under § 15.6312(C) (2015), Sexual Abuse of Children through the Possession of Child Pornography, is to consider the elements of the crime as explained in the standard jury instructions. Those instructions set out four elements of the offense.

First, that the defendant intentionally viewed, controlled or possessed a photograph, videotape, computer depiction, pamphlet, magazine, book, or slide. Under Pennsylvania law, the term “intentionally viewed” means that the defendant deliberately, purposely, and voluntarily viewed material depicting a child under 18 years of age engaged in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of such an act. The term does not mean the inadvertent or accidental viewing of such material.

Second, that Pennsylvania's child pornography statute requires that the item depicted a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act or the simulation of such an act.

Third, that the child was under the age of 18 at the time the child was depicted.

Fourth, that the defendant did so knowingly. The knowledge requirements means that the defendant was aware of what was possessed or controlled, the nature of its contents, and that the child involved was under 18.

Definition of Terms under the Child Pornography Statute

The term “depicted” is defined to mean "pictured or showed." For the purposes of the statute, a "prohibited sexual act” includes sexual intercourse, masturbation, lewd exhibition of the genitals, or nudity, if the nudity is depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who might view the depiction. It also includes the “simulation” of a prohibited act.

At trial, the jury will be asked to find, beyond a reasonable doubt, whether the prohibited sexual act depicted or simulated was an act involving any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of the person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desires in any person.

Related Charges

15.6312A (Crim) Sexual Abuse of Children--Photographing, Videotaping, Depicting on Computer, or Filming Sexual Acts

15.6312B (Crim) Sexual Abuse of Children--Dissemination of Photographs, Videotapes, Computer Depictions, and Films

15.6312C (Crim) Sexual Abuse of Children--Possession of Child Pornography

15.6312D (Crim) Sexual Abuse of Children--Defense of Educational, Scientific, Governmental, or Judicial Purpose

15.6318 (Crim) Unlawful Contact with a Minor

15.6319 (Crim) Failure to Report Child Abuse

15.6320 (Crim) Sexual Exploitation of Children

Additional Resources

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) in Montgomery County, PA — Visit the website of Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office to learn more about its membership in the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. The ICAC is a cooperative group of law enforcement agencies on the local, state, regional, federal and international levels. ICAC members investigate crimes and share resources involving the possession and distribution of pornography of minors and the online solicitation of children. Montgomery County ICAC Detectives offer training and technical assistance, victim services, perform forensic computer examinations, and conduct undercover investigations.

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) — The ICAC was formed to help local, state and federal law enforcement agencies investigate offenders who use computer technology, online communication systems, and the Internet to sexually exploit children. The ICAC Program is funded by a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and the U.S. Department of Justice. The ICAC Task Force in Pennsylvania has operated through the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office Criminal Investigation Division since its inception in 2000. Crimes investigated by the ICAC include using the Internet to entice children for sexual or indecent purposes and/or Internet crimes against children include possession, distribution and manufacturing of child pornography images on a tablet, smartphone or computer.

Finding an Attorney for Child Pornography Defense for Norristown, PA

If you were charged with any form of possession of child pornography, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for cases in Norristown, PA. With offices in West Chester in Chester County and the Borough of Media in Delaware County, PA, Attorney Michael Skinner is experienced in representing clients in Pennsylvania for sexually motivated offenses, including sexual assault, rape, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault, indecent exposure, and child pornography.

Read more about child pornography charges in Chester County and child pornography crimes in Delaware County, PA. Related charges often include sexual abuse of children, distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and criminal use of a communication facility.

Call today to find out more about the charges, the potential penalties and important defenses that might apply to your case. Call (610) 436-1410 today to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney for cases in Norristown and Montgomery County, PA.

This page was last updated on Monday, February 1, 2015.

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