Child pornography means big trouble for Minnesota man

It was in the news very recently: A 19-year-old man from Faribault was arrested in connection with having child pornography on his cell phone, obtained through a social website. The phone contained images of exposed young girls thought to be between eight and 15. The website, which has since closed down, supposedly allowed users to "like" or repost content to go back and view that content on their personal web feed. The site reported an email address to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force became involved and traced the IP address for the account to a location in Faribault. A search warrant took police to the man's home where they confiscated his cell phone and laptop. The 19 year old has stated that he did not recall having any images of young girls on his web feed and if they were there, he did not know how "that stuff" got on his phone-someone else must have put them there.

The 19 year old was charged, under Minnesota law, with nine felony counts of possession of child pornography. The Minnesota statute makes it a crime for anyone to possess a pornographic work on a computer disk or computer or other storage system of any kind with the knowledge or with reason to know its content. Any violation of this statute is a felony and any person convicted may be sentenced to imprisonment for less than five years and a fine less than $5,000 for a first offense and for less than 10 years and a fine of less than $10,000 for a second or subsequent offense. It is also a criminal offense for any person to disseminate and child pornographic work, again with the knowledge or with reason to know its content. The punishment for anyone convicted of a violation of this statute is subject to imprisonment for less than seven years and a fine of less than $10,000 for a first offense and for less than 15 years and a fine of less than $20,000 for a second or subsequent offense.

It is important to note that there is a similar federal statute entitled Sexual Exploitation of Children which can subject someone suspected of violations to penalties in federal court.

For anyone who has been charged with an offense related to child pornography, it is important to immediately seek the advice of a Minnesota attorney who is experienced in the defense of these charges.