Creator of the World’s Largest Child Pornography Website Sentenced to 30 Years
Chron.com reports that a Florida man was recently sentenced to serve 30 years in prison for his role in creating and administering what is thought to be the world’s largest child pornography website, Playpen. According to the FBI, Playpen was an open network on the internet that allowed more than 150,000 users from around the world to communicate anonymously through hidden service websites. Allegedly, users uploaded and viewed tens of thousands of images depicting child pornography before the FBI and other law enforcement agencies around the world put a stop to the site early in 2015.
Florida’s Child Pornography Laws
Under Florida law, child pornography is defined as any image that depicts a minor engaged in sexual conduct. In this context the term “sexual conduct” means:
- Actual or simulated sexual intercourse,
- Deviate sexual intercourse,
- Sexual bestiality,
- Sadomasochistic abuse,
- Actual lewd exhibition of the genitals,
- Actual physical contact with a person’s clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or breast with the intent to arouse or gratify sexual desire, or
- Any conduct which constitutes sexual battery, or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.
Additionally, under section 827.071 of the Florida Statutes it is illegal to engage in any of the child pornography-related activities listed below:
- Using a Child in a Sexual Performance: Knowingly employing, authorizing, or inducing a minor to engage in a sexual performance. Additionally, it is illegal for a minor’s parent or legal guardian to consent to their child participating in such a performance. Using a child in a sexual performance is a second degree felony offense (punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000).
- Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child: Knowingly producing, directing, or promoting any performance which includes sexual conduct by a minor. Promoting a sexual performance by a child is a second degree felony offense (punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000).
- Possessing Child Pornography with the Intent to Promote: Possessing with the intent to promote any image depicting sexual conduct by a minor. Possessing three or more copies of one image constitutes prima facie evidence of an intent to promote. Possessing child pornography with the intent to promote is a second degree felony offense (punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000).
- Knowingly Possessing, Controlling, or Intentionally Viewing Child Pornography: Knowingly possessing, controlling, or intentionally viewing any image depicting sexual conduct by a child. Knowingly possessing, controlling, or intentionally viewing child pornography is a third degree felony offense (punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000).
Commonly Asserted Defenses to Child Pornography Charges in Florida
While each child pornography case is different, there are some defenses that are commonly asserted by child pornography defendants. For example, defendants frequently claim that they were entrapped by law enforcement officials, that the child pornography was not in fact in their possession, that the image at issue does not constitute child pornography, or that a procedural error (such as an illegal search) violated their constitutional rights. Experienced criminal defense lawyers are able to evaluate alleged child pornography violations and craft tailor-made defenses based on the unique facts present in each case.
Need Legal Advice?
If you’ve been charged with a child pornography-related offense in Florida be sure to contact a local Dade City criminal defense attorney without delay. Here at the Madonna Law Group our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers routinely defend clients throughout Florida against sex crime allegations, and we would be happy to assist you. To schedule a confidential consultation contact us today by calling (800) 557-0411.