St. Pete Police Officer Facing Accusations of Possessing Child Porn
A St. Petersburg police officer who was given a Medal of Valor in 2015 is now facing federal child porn charges, according to reports.
The 33-year-old has been placed on administrative leave without pay.
U.S. Homeland Security was involved in the investigation, according to police as they described the charges being brought against the man onThursday.
The man is accused of trading child porn pictures involving victims as young as 4 years old. Authorities said pornographic images were found on his computer and phone.
Four years ago, the man was honored for saving a man’s life in St. Petersurg.
He left the federal courthouse last week wearing an ankle monitor and was ordered not to use the internet or his cell phone.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, a social media app tipped off the Center For Missing And Exploited Children about two child porn images in July uploaded by a username that is allegedly linked to the man.
Reports indicate that the username led federal investigators to the man’s home on Sept. 11, where they say they found at least 10 child porn images on the man’s computer.
The man is on unpaid leave and will be fired if the charges prove valid, according to police.
It is unclear exactly how many images were allegedly found on the man’s computer. That information could determine what type of sentence he could receive if sentenced.
Federal child pornography charges require a skilled federal sex crimes attorney on your side. These crimes are punished quite harshly and there is so much more at stake than you may realize. Your reputation is on the line as well as your future. There are many negative repercussions that accompany a federal child porn charge, so our Florida Child Pornography Attorneys at Whittel & Melton urge you to reach out so that we can help you through every stage of your case. Whatever the details, we can investigate your case and defend you throughout trial and even beyond as well.
Possessing any images of child pornography is illegal and not protected under your first amendment rights. Federal law defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old). Images of child pornography are also referred to as child sexual abuse images. Sexually explicit conduct is not necessarily sexually explicit activity, meaning that a sexually suggestive image of a child may also fit the definition of child pornography.
It is a federal offense to produce, distribute, receive, facilitate, or possess child pornography. Furthermore, it is also illegal to entice, persuade, induce, or coerce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct with the intent to produce visual depictions of that conduct. If you have been involved in a child pornography crime or suspect you may be under investigation, you should not mess around and get legal help as soon as possible. We cannot stress enough how serious these kinds of cases are.
If you are caught violating federal child pornography laws, you will find yourself up against very severe consequences. First time offenders convicted of producing child pornography can face harsh fines and a minimum of 15 years in prison. If you are found guilty of transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce and are a first-time offender, you could face hefty fines plus a minimum of 5 years behind bars. If you have any previous child pornography convictions on your record, you could be facing life in prison. Your federal child pornography case may also be tried under Florida state child pornography laws as well.
Just being charged with a child pornography crime does not mean that you are automatically guilty. Our Florida Child Pornography Attorneys at Whittel & Melton will work hard to safeguard your rights and your future. Even if child pornography was found in your possession, there may be reasonable explanations that can clear your name. We will make sure the prosecutors and court hear your side of the story. It could be that your computer or network was compromised by online criminal activity or your computer may have been used by someone else without your permission. You may have been under the impression that the images were legally produced with adult participants. Whatever the case may be, you deserve a strong defense against these charges.
We urge you to contact us today if you have been charged with:
- Possession of child pornography
- Production of child pornography
- Distribution of child pornography
- Receipt of child pornography
- Persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct
- Buying, selling, or transferring custody of a minor for purposes of producing child pornography