A Wisconsin man was sentenced to spend the next 90 months in prison following his conviction for possession of underage pornography. His arrest comes as part of a massive police effort to crack down on the possession and distribution of underage pornography images and videos.
The man was arrested after undercover police officers accessed a peer-to-peer file sharing program the man was using and downloaded several pornographic videos. Officers raided the man's house, finding several more pornographic videos and images on his computer.
In addition to his seven-and-a-half year sentence, the 49-year-old man will also be subject to a lifetime of supervision following his release.
The man's arrest comes as a result of a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement investigation, who pressed the case as a part of Project Safe Childhood. Project Safe Childhood is a national Department of Justice program designed to fight child sexual exploitation and abuse. The program is led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, with cooperation from federal, state and local agencies.
While the program should be commended for its ongoing work to protect children from sexual abuse, large collaborations such as this one should remember to take care when apprehending suspects. In their desire to apprehend sex criminals, such organizations are sometimes accused of baiting suspects into committing the very crimes the police are trying to prevent. While entrapment was clearly not a factor in the Wisconsin man's case, defense attorneys involved in similar cases should carefully examine the evidence to ensure that their clients have not been subjected to this sort of treatment. Putting a stop to underage pornography is an eminently admirable goal, but care must be taken to ensure that that goal is not achieved at the expense of the defendant's rights.
Source: wsau.com, "Marshfield man sentenced for child porn," Oct. 30, 2012