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Wisconsin man faces federal underage pornography charges

A man from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, has been charged by a federal grand jury with receipt of underage pornography and possession of underage pornography, two federal crimes that come with significant prison sentences, fines and a lifetime of supervised release.

The accusations against the 31-year-old man date back to April 2007, when investigators said he received sexually explicit images and movies of children on his home computer. If convicted of this offense, he'll be sentenced to a minimum term of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. He could also face a fine of up to $250,000 and be on supervised release for the rest of his life.

The possession charge could result in a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, another fine of up to $250,000 and a life term of supervised release. The man has pleaded not guilty to both charges. His trial date is scheduled in June.

The man's case was investigated by both the Washington County Sheriff's Department and the FBI. Federal court records say investigators found more than 800,000 files containing images and videos of children who appeared to be under 12 years old, with one child apparently under the age of 2. The man was originally charged with 80 counts of underage pornography possession in Washington County, but those charges were dropped after the federal charges were filed.

State and federal investigators are seeing an increasing number of underage pornography cases, despite stepped-up efforts to combat the problem through the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative. It doesn't take a vast collection of underage pornography images to be subject to serious charges. If you've ever downloaded, shared or possessed underage pornography at all, you could face a public, very damaging trial, not to mention years in prison if you're convicted. Before that happens, it might pay to consult with an attorney who focuses on the defense of sexual crimes to see what your options are in the event that you're formally charged.

Source: Lake Geneva News, "Lake Geneva man indicted in federal court," Rob Ireland, April 3, 2012

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