A 24-year-old Maryland man reportedly pleaded guilty on Feb. 26 to charges of sexually exploiting a minor in order to produce child pornography. As part of his plea deal, if accepted by the court, the man will be in prison for 20 years and must register as a sex offender. His sentencing was scheduled for June 23.
According to the report, the Calvert County Sheriff’s Drug Enforcement Unit initially entered the man’s home on Sept. 19, 2013, after obtaining a warrant for alleged drug violations. After seizing the man’s phone, the authorities recovered 24 pictures of a nude prepubescent girl. The photographs were reportedly taken between June and September 2013. After he was taken into custody on Sept. 27, the man reportedly admitted to touching the girl inappropriately and taking the photographs.
Project Safe Childhood, a program launched in May 2006 with the goal of combating the exploitation of children, was involved in the case. The program provides resources at the federal, state and local level to prosecute individuals who are accused of the sexual exploitation of minors.
Those who are accused of owning or producing child pornography can face serious consequences, including an extensive prison sentence and the requirement that they must register as a sex offender. By being forced to register, individuals lose a large amount of privacy and opportunities for employment and housing.
As with any case, however, the authorities must have probable cause to seek a warrant that allows them to seize any potential evidence against a person. If they did not have probable cause, an attorney may be able to have the evidence suppressed. If the case is strong against the accused individual, the attorney may also be able to negotiate a plea deal that significantly reduces the potential sentence.
Source: Southern Maryland News Net, “St. Leonard Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Exploiting Minor”, February 26, 2014