29 Apr A Myriad of Child Pornography Offenses Carry Stiff Penalties in Maryland
A 28-year-old man was recently sentenced in a federal court in Baltimore to 10 years in prison for producing and possessing child pornography. He was accused of using his cellphone to create videos of boys using urinals in highway reststops and transferring the images to his computers at his home. He did not face accusations of distributing child pornography.
Last year, a high school track coach in Maryland was convicted of soliciting child pornography after facing accusations that he was exchanging nude photos on his cellphone – also known as "sexting" – with a student athlete. His sentence included five years of supervised probation, 25 years of registration as a sex offender and he was also forbidden from coaching children for more than 20 years.
Cellphones with cameras have been getting people into legal hot water almost since they were invented. An innocent photograph taken of one’s children have been known to bring on charges of child pornography. Even if the charges are ultimately proven to be unfounded, the damage is done and people charged with crimes may find themselves without jobs and with negative stigmas attached to them for the rest of their lives.
Maryland child pornography laws
A person may face prosecution under Maryland’s child pornography law for such offenses as:
- Photographing or videotaping sexually explicit images of minors
- Using a computer to describe or depict a minor in a sexual act or engaging in sexual conduct
- Knowingly allowing a minor to be the subject of a sexually explicit image
- Possessing such images
- Distributing such images
- Showing such images to a minor
- Sexual solicitation of a minor, whether in person or via electronic means
The laws apply regardless of the age of the accused and it does not matter if the minor lied about his or her age. Minors who take nude or sexually explicit images of themselves may also be subject to prosecution according to state law.
Child pornography penalties
Convictions under Maryland’s child pornography laws carry stiff penalties. Not only are those accused of such crimes subject to long jail terms and substantial fines, many must also register as sex offenders.
All child pornography offenses can require compliance with sex offender registration laws. Even those wrongly convicted or found not criminally responsible for a crime may be required to register.
Legal help is available
If you have been accused of a sex crime, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney can ensure that your rights are protected as you face felony or misdemeanor charges.