Allegations of sexual abuse of children can change your life forever. This is an extremely serious charge that deals with "child porn." Whether you are accused of creating it, viewing it, possessing it, or disseminating it, the charges against you are potential felony charges. You face many years in prison, high fines, and the requirement to register as a sex offender.
If you face charges of sexual abuse of children, an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can defend your case and protect your constitutional rights. Never assume you are guilty just because you are charged with a crime.
Philadelphia Sexual Abuse of Children Defense Attorney
With nearly a decade of experience working in different positions in the Pennsylvania justice system, Joseph Lento is a highly qualified Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how a criminal case operates from start to finish, and beyond.
If you have been charged with sexual abuse of children in Philadelphia or the rest of Pennsylvania and need a comprehensive, customized defense, contact the attorneys at Lento Law Firm. Joseph Lento built his practice on the ideals of customer service and justice and he will fight for your rights and freedom. Call (215) 535-5353 today to schedule your free consultation and discover what Joseph Lento can do to clear your name.
Sexual Abuse of Children Charges in Pennsylvania
The charge of sexual abuse of children is defined by 18 PA. CONS. STAT. § 6312. A person can commit this offense under the separate categories as defined under the law.
Photographing, videotaping, depicting on computer or filming sexual acts.
"(1) Any person who causes or knowingly permits a child under the age of 18 years to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense if such person knows, has reason to know or intends that such act may be photographed, videotaped, depicted on computer or filmed.
(2) Any person who knowingly photographs, videotapes, depicts on computer or films a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act commits an offense."
Dissemination of photographs, videotapes, computer depictions and films.
"Any person who knowingly sells, distributes, delivers, disseminates, transfers, displays or exhibits to others, or who possesses for the purpose of sale, distribution, delivery, dissemination, transfer, display or exhibition to others, any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense."
"Any person who intentionally views or knowingly possesses or controls any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act commits an offense."
Under any of the above categories, the Pennsylvania prosecutor is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all of the elements of the offense were committed.
A few important definitions are crucial to understanding this criminal charge.
- "Intentionally views." The deliberate, purposeful, voluntary viewing of material depicting a child under 18 years of age engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such act. The term shall not include the accidental or inadvertent viewing of such material.
- "Prohibited sexual act." Sexual intercourse as defined in section 3101 (relating to definitions), masturbation, sadism, masochism, bestiality, fellatio, cunnilingus, lewd exhibition of the genitals or nudity if such nudity is depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who might view such depiction.
Evidence of Age
Under the law, evidence of age can be established by competent expert testimony. It is important to understand that mistake as to a child's age is not a defense in these cases. Whether a person did not know the child's age, or even if the child lied about his or her age, this is still not a defense.
Penalties for Sexual Abuse of Children in Pennsylvania
The penalties for this offense depend on the section of the law violated. If a person is convicted of creating child pornography, he or she is guilty of a felony of the second degree and faces the following penalties:
- up to 10 years in prison
- up to $25,000 in fines
- registration as a sex offender for up to 15 years
If a person is convicted of disseminating, possessing, or viewing child pornography for the first time, he or she is guilty of a third-degree felony and faces the following penalties:
- a maximum prison sentence of up to 7 years
- a possible fine ranging from $2,500 to a maximum of $15,000
A second offense of disseminating, possessing, or viewing child pornography is a second-degree felony, with the same penalties listed above for a second-degree felony.
If a person commits an offense and indecent contact with the child was depicted, the felony level raises by one degree.
Defending Your Case
Certain defenses can be raised by your PA defense lawyer, including, but not limited to:
- the child pornography was viewed for a legitimate educational, scientific, governmental, or judicial purposes
- the person charged is under 18 years of age and views a visual depiction of himself or herself
- the person's in the video are over the age of 18
- the images are computer generated or animated (not of a real person or child)
- you were not aware of the material on your computer
- the material belonged to another person
With the right help at your side, you can present a defense uniquely suited to your situation.
Consult a Pennsylvania Sexual Abuse of Children Attorney
If you or someone you care about faces a charge of sexual abuse of children in Pennsylvania, an experienced Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can fight for your rights. Joseph D. Lento has the years of experience necessary to protect your rights.
Call (888) 535-3686 or contact us online today to schedule a consultation of your case.