Law enforcement continues to crackdown on child pornography in New York

Under both federal and New York law, it is illegal to produce, distribute, receive or possess explicit images of children which are deemed pornographic. A few months ago, the New York Daily News reported that a law enforcement operation named "Caireen" resulted in the arrest of 71 individuals who allegedly swapped child porn images on the Internet. Among those arrested in this crackdown were a NYPD police officer, a Brooklyn rabbi, a Little League baseball coach and two registered nurses.

Officials said that the evidence seized during operation Caireen suggested that child pornography in the NYC area had reached "epidemic proportions." The Brooklyn U.S. Attorney was quoted as saying that the arrests send a message that those who break the laws regarding child porn will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

The federal government is increasingly aggressive in using high-tech tools to pursue those who violate the child porn laws. Wired Magazine recently published an article noting that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a brand new high-tech weapon in its arsenal. The FBI uses sophisticated hacker techniques designed to infiltrate a high-traffic website containing explicit child porn images. The FBI then subverts that website to deliver malware to every single visitor to the website. This gives the government access to an individual's computer files, location and web history.

Discovery News has reported that the Jaguar supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, one of the world's fastest computers, has begun collaborating with law enforcement to ferret out child pornographers by tracking those who share porn images and videos of children.

Andrew Extein, a social worker and psychotherapist writing for the Huffington Post, notes that the length of federal child porn sentences has-at the prompting of Congress-increased greatly since the late 1990s. There is a federal mandatory minimum of five years in prison for the receipt, distribution, transportation or production of child porn per image. The prohibited conduct could range from producing explicit images of the violent abuse of children to inadvertently downloading a video on a file-sharing network. According to the author, the false assumption underlying the current crackdown on those who view or download explicit images is that they are "also guilty of undiscovered abuse in the past" or will commit predatory acts against children in the future.

Many judges and public defenders, according to Fox News, are increasingly of the opinion that the sentencing guidelines have become so skewed that people who possess or distribute child porn can go to prison for longer periods of time than those who actually rape or sexually abuse children.

Consequences of a conviction

The possible consequences of a conviction on child porn offenses are sobering. According to Extein, once released from prison, child porn offenders are usually placed on a sex offender registry for the rest of their lives. Presently, around 750,000 people are listed as sex offenders on registries. Being on such a registry makes it nearly impossible for those released from prison to either find work or housing. The sex registries often leave offenders -and their families-vulnerable to harassment and possibly violence.

Seek legal help

It is a serious matter whenever a resident of New York faces criminal charges for allegedly committing a sex crime. Defenses are often available that could lead to the dismissal of the charges. If you have been accused of a sex crime, you should contact a New York attorney experienced in handling sex crime cases.