Pornography on Social Media: Beware of Whom Your Kids are Messaging

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Mar 23, 2023 | 0 Comments

Myles Andrew Howell, a 21-year-old man from Manchester, Pennsylvania, was recently arrested and charged with several felonies, including one first-degree felony, three second-degree felonies, and one third-degree felony relating to the sexual abuse of children. The police began an investigation into Howell after receiving a tip from the Internet Crimes Against Children Cyber Tipline (ICACCT) in November 2022. At the time, the ICACCT reported that a suspect was viewing and downloading several images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Child Pornography Charges in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for any person to knowingly cause or allow a minor child to participate in a sexual act or simulate a sexual act if they know or intend that the act will be photographed, videotaped, filmed, or depicted on a computer. In this case, Howell admitted to soliciting pornographic images and videos from four minor children on the social media app Snapchat.

The legislation goes on to state that it is illegal to knowingly sell, distribute, possess, or even view the photographs, videotapes, computer depictions, and films. Further, Pennsylvania legislation specifically states that the defendant cannot put forth a defense saying they didn't know the child's real age. It does not matter whether the child lied about their age, someone else misrepresented the child's age, or that they fully believed the child was over the age of eighteen.

Here, according to the criminal complaint affidavit, just one of Howell's electronic devices allegedly has more than 33 videos and 36 pictures of child pornography. Howell is also suspected of uploading at least five video files to specific Instagram and Snapchat accounts which showed minor children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The Exceptions to the Rule

Child pornography laws tend to be very strict, with little wiggle room. So, the only time there is an exception to the laws described above is if the material is being viewed, possessed, controlled, brought, or caused to be brought into Pennsylvania for a bona fide educational, scientific, governmental, or judicial purpose, or if a minor knowingly does this with pictures of themselves, by themselves.

In this case, the ICACCT notified police that someone was viewing and downloading a number of images and videos of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct. ICACCT also gave police the suspect's Instagram and Snapchat handles (names). Investigators were able to track down an email address Howell used and file names of the videos and images he supposedly viewed and shared. After discovering this, the investigators were able to track the IP address Howell used and found his address in Manchester, PA.

So, clearly, his possession of the material was not for an educational, scientific, governmental, or judicial purpose.

How an Experienced Criminal Attorney Can Help

If you or someone you love has been accused of child pornography charges, it is very important you reach out to an experienced criminal attorney right away. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have helped thousands of individuals navigate their criminal charges. He understands that every one of his clients is innocent until proven guilty and works hard to guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today for a consultation or schedule one online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia and across Pennsylvania as well as in New Jersey and nationwide. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. With unparalleled experience occupying several roles in the criminal justice system outside of being an attorney, Joseph D. Lento can give you valuable behind-the-scenes insight as to what is happening during all phases of the legal process. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide. In the courtroom and in life, attorney Joseph D. Lento stands up when the bell rings!


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Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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