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Maryland Pastor Convicted of Child Porn Charges

CrimLaw10

When you imagine the stereotypical child porn offender, you may imagine an older, anti-social man, perhaps one who lives alone and acts like a hermit. The truth is that offenders come in all demographics. Some are younger men or even females. Some are even pillars in their communities, like teachers and pastors.

A pastor at a Maryland church was recently arrested for engaging in child porn. Police began investigating the 36-year-old man from Delaware back in April 2018, when he was the pastor of  Iglesia El Spiritu Santo in Salisbury.

The Delaware Child Predator Task Force, which conducted the investigation, searched the pastor’s home and found 25 child porn files on multiple electronic devices. The man also downloaded and shared numerous child porn files with others.

In February, the pastor pled guilty to multiple child porn charges. He is now facing four years in prison.

Maryland Child Porn Charges and Penalties

Under Maryland Criminal Law Code § 11-208, possession of visual representation depicting children under the age of 16 engaging in sexual acts is against the law. Visual representation refers to photos, videos, images and anything else that can be seen by others. Sexual acts refer to sexual conduct, a state of sexual excitement or sadomasochistic abuse.

There are several defenses that can be used against the alleged offender. One exception to this law is if a parent possesses images of their own child in the nude, unless there is evidence that the child is being abused. Also, if a person accidentally found themselves in possession of child porn and destroyed the images in a timely manner, then they would not face penalties. Another defense would be if they promptly reported the matter to law enforcement.

A first offense for child porn possession is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $2,500 and up to five years in prison. The penalties become increasingly harsh from there. Any subsequent offense is charged as a felony. A person can face a $10,000 fine and/or 10 years in prison. For distribution charges, the punishment is even more severe. A first offense is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine. The penalties increase to 20 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for subsequent offenses.

Child porn can also be a federal offense. This can occur if the porn distribution crossed state lines. When both state and federal charges apply, the penalties can be especially severe. A person can face the rest of their lives in prison and be ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

Nobody is immune to criminal activity. While there is a stigma attached to child porn possession, people from all walks of life engage in this crime.

If you are facing child porn charges, do not try to handle such a complex case on your own. The Columbia child pornography attorneys at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can assess your situation and advise you. We have two offices in Maryland to serve you. To schedule a consultation, call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form.

Resource:

wtop.com/maryland/2019/04/former-eastern-shore-pastor-gets-4-years-in-prison-for-child-porn/

https://www.marylandlawhelp.com/what-is-child-porn-distribution/

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