Federal prosecutors can prosecute people for a large variety of crimes including for peoples’ conduct on the internet. With so many of peoples’ interactions being online, the government has increased its monitoring of the internet.
One area in which federal prosecutors are particularly aggressive is with online child pornography. Recently, federal prosecutors have announced that a 32-year-old Illinois man has been charged with accessing child pornography online. Officially, he has been charged with accessing photos or videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to prosecutors, this supposed conduct occurred in 2012.
While all federal crimes are severe charges, federal online child pornography charges are particularly serious. The Illinois man that has recently been charged, for example, will face a $250,000 fine and up to 10 years in a federal prison if he is found guilty. Additionally, he may be forced to register on the National Sex Offender Registry which could restrict where he can live, socialize and work.
Furthermore, allegations of sexual misconduct are particularly devastating for those accused because they tend to highlighted in the media. The media likes to sensationalize these types of stories which can make it difficult for people accused of federal sex crimes to get fair criminal proceedings. In this situation, people may also suffer damage to their personal and professional reputations as a result of these charges.
While prosecutors have a duty to enforce the laws, they must also remember that the constitution offers protections to those accused of federal crimes. No matter how a person is being portrayed in the media, that person has the right to fair criminal proceedings and to be treated as innocent until proven guilty.
Source: Journal Star, “Southern Illinois man faces federal child porn charges,” June 23, 2013