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Child Pornography

Fort Lauderdale Retired Principal Guilty of Child Porn | Whittel & Melton

A retired principal living in Fort Lauderdale could spend the next 20 years living behind bars after pleading guilty in federal court to child pornography possession.

The 75-year-old will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rodolfo Ruiz on May 18 in Fort Lauderdale federal court. With a guilty plea and without a criminal record, the man is unlikely to get the maximum sentence of 20 years.

Before the man moved to Fort Lauderdale, he was a Syracuse City Schools principal, according to one database. After he was charged in December, the Syracuse Post-Standard and other Syracuse-area media outlets reported that Syracuse City Schools confirmed he worked for the district from 1967 through 2002.

A triple shot of child pornography Cybertips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children led detectives to the door of of the man’s condominium, accoridng to the man’s admission of facts.

Reports indicate that in April 2019, Google noticed a subscriber uploaded a picture of “a nude prepubescent child laying inside a tanning bed with an erect penis” to a gmail account. Dropbox already had sent two Cybertip reports that the gmail user had uploaded 20 files of child pornography, including a video of two boys performing oral sex on each other.

“While reviewing the Google account, law enforcement located an email from “Mega.nz,” which is a cloud storage platform that is hosted outside of the United States and fully encrypted,” the man’s admission of facts says. “Mega.nz recently has been identified by (Internet Crimes Against Children) investigators as a place that is utilized by subjects who are attempting to store child pornography and benefit from the encryption provided.”

The man was apparently using 200GB of storage on the cloud.

Dropbox records apparently show various file names with sexual innuendos. 

The man allegedly admitted using the aforementioned services as well as Apple iCloud, Wickr and WhatsApp. He allegedly paid for a VPN to hide his IP address.

Police executed a search warrant for the man’s apartment, which apparently yielded two SanDisk 256GB USB drives with videos showing such things as an adult male raping a boy via oral sex and forced masturbation.

If you live in the state of Florida and are facing serious federal charges for possession, distribution, or production of pornographic images of children, it is important to work with an aggressive legal advocate. If our Florida Child Porn Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton work with you from the beginning, we can help you understand your legal options and defense strategies, which can have a major impact on the outcome of your case. 

While an attorney can never guarantee an outcome on your unique case, our federal child porn defense lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you understand your charges and determine the best way to build a strong defense. We will be able to represent your interests during a plea bargain or negotiation with federal prosecutors as well as a criminal trial when necessary.

Child pornography is:

  • Any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age).  
  • Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor.
  • Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.
  • The legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity.  A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive. Additionally, the age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.

If you are charged with a federal child pornography offense, we can argue for your release at a bond hearing, so that you are not required to remain in jail pending trial. We can then build a strong defense to help protect your freedom at trial.

If a case proceeds to trial, the prosecutor has the burden of showing that the accused violated federal laws related to child pornography beyond a reasonable doubt. This is what is known as the burden of proof. However, if a seed of doubt can be planted regarding your guilt, it is possible to avoid a child pornography conviction.

The penalties for a federal child pornography crime varies depending on the nature of the offense, but ranged somewhere between 15 and 30 years. Repeat offenses can increase the length of a prison sentence.

Whatever the specifics of the situation, it is important to work with a federal child pornography attorney who is familiar with these types of cases. You want an attorney who can conduct a thorough investigation of the charges against you to build the best possible defense, regardless of guilt. 

If you are accused of any crime related to child pornography, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible for legal help. We can help you through the entire legal process, from the start of your case to its end. We also handle criminal appeals. 

 

Tue Mar 10, 6:44pm

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