Child Porn Law Upheld by Supreme Court! “Protecting Our Kids” Speaker Chuck Gallagher Comments

May 19, 2008

Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the Supreme Court in which they upheld the law aimed at preventing child pornography. Scalia called internet child porn a “threat.” He’s right. As a frequent speaker on teen ethics and computer crimes, it is clear that the internet is becoming a distribution haven for child porn and more importantly it is a playground for child predators.

A federal law, the “Protect” Act enacted in 2003 made it a crime not only to produce and possess child porn, but also to “pander” material, conveying the belief that material contains minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The pandering provision covers anyone who “advertises, promotes, presents, distributes, or solicits” this material.

According to CNN in a recent report: As part of a 2004 sting operation, an undercover Secret Service agent (using the screen name “Lisa–n–Miami”) communicated with Williams in an Internet chat room. Williams allegedly wrote, “Dad of toddler has ‘good’ pics of her an (sic) me for swap of your toddler pics, or live cam.” He posted nonpornographic photos of a young girl and claimed he had “hc,” or hard-core, kiddie pictures, prosecutors contend.

The man then allegedly posted photos of youngsters involved in “sexually explicit conduct,” according to court records. Twenty-two other child porn images were found on his home computer.

A federal appeals court upheld a possession conviction against Williams, but threw out the separate soliciting charge, which carried a five-year mandatory minimum sentence. A three-judge panel concluded the provision was “substantially overbroad and vague,” and that “non-commercial, non-inciteful promotion of illegal child pornography, even if repugnant, is protected free speech.” In other words, the judges said merely talking about child porn is not necessarily criminal.

Today’s ruling by the high Court upheld the law by ruling that a provision dealing with “pandering” illicit material does not violate constitutional protections on free speech. The ruling was 7 to 2.

Scalia stated, “Child pornography harms and debases the most defenseless of our citizens. This court held unconstitutional Congress’ previous attempt to meet this new threat, and Congress responded with a carefully crafted attempt to eliminate the First Amendment problems we [earlier] identified.”

There has been some concern that some people might be targeted unfairly when engaged in lawful, artistic or editorial free speech. Example were used among them were mainstream movies such as “Lolita,” “Traffic,” and “Titanic,” all of which depicted scenarios in which underage girls were engaging in simulated sex.

According to the AP – Justice David Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented. Souter said promotion of images that are not real children engaging in pornography still could be the basis for prosecution under the law. Possession of those images, on the other hand, may not be prosecuted, Souter said.

“I believe that maintaining the First Amendment protection of expression we have previously held to cover fake child pornography requires a limit to the law’s criminalization of pandering proposals,” Souter said.

The reality is child porn is too easy to get and in so many ways our children aren’t protected. Odd, but the profile of a person convicted of child porn is – ANYONE. Most recently a Plano, Texas minister who was arrested in an internet sex sting operation has resigned his position as a pastor at a Dallas-area megachurch. Joe Barron was charged with solicitation of a minor. The solicitation was via the internet.

As a white collar crime speaker, unlike traditional forms of white collar crime, convictions related to Child Porn seem to carry far greater sentences and long term consequences. One of the most significant things that parents can do is become educated. Child porn is more accessible via the internet and that – THE INTERNET – is where parents need education. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook and others are not dangerous on the whole, but Child Predators can use those mediums as a way to deceive and commit their crimes. I teach seminars and workshops on cyber-crime and what every parent should know to protect their children.

If you or your organization is interested in my newest program – PROTECTING OUR KIDS: What Every Parent Should Know About Computer Crimes – contact me at chuck@chuckgallagher.com.


William Don Woods – 87 Month in Prison for Child Porn on His iPod!

May 18, 2008

EVERY CHOICE HAS A CONSEQUENCE. You cannot hide – no matter how hard you try – those choices and actions you take that are wrong – morally, ethically or legally.

So imagine, you have an inclination toward Child Porn. You down load it from your computer. You leave your ipod in your car or at a friend’s house (forgetting you’ve got child porn on it). Next thing you know the police are at your door. You’re arrested. Your friend – repulsed by child porn – turns you in. YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW!

William Don Woods, age 31, of Claremore, was sentenced to prison in federal court in Tulsa on April 29 for having images of child pornography on his iPod.

An indictment was issued and revealed the details of the pornography contained on the iPod, including approximately 10 pornographic photos depicting 5-, 6-, 8-, 12- and 13-year-old children involved in sexual acts. There was also more than one video file with at least one depicting a 10-year-old girl involved in sexual acts. – source The Claremore Daily Progress

Chief U.S. District Judge Claire V. Eagan sentenced Woods to over seven years (87 months) imprisonment for the crime of Possession of Child Pornography. On August 25, 2007, an acquaintance found Wood’s iPod and turned it over to Claremore police. It contained multiple pictures and videos of children engaged in sexually explicit acts with adults and with other children. The material had been obtained from peer-to-peer file sharing sites on the Internet. Woods was charged in a federal indictment in November 2007 and he pled
guilty on January 18.

The federal indictment in this case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative and the continuing effort to target individuals who possess and/or distribute child pornography. The Department launched Project Safe Childhood in February 2006 as a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices nationwide, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, and helps identify and assist the victims of these atrocious
crimes.

COMMENT: Project Safe Childhood is producing significant dividends. Many have been convicted for child porn. What makes it easy to obtain child porn also makes it easy to catch. Recently in News Busters the following was reported:

Famed left-wing radio personality Bernie Ward of San Francisco, a former priest who had one of the loudest and most consistently anti-George W. Bush voices in the entire nation, was found guilty of possessing and distributing child pornography on Friday and will serve at least five years in prison. ward tried to argue that he was “doing research” on child pornography, but as the San Francisco Chronicle reported:

His hopes of maintaining a defense based on a constitutional right to research taboo subjects appeared to be weakened further when police in Oakdale (Stanislaus County) released transcripts in February of a series of online sex chats between Ward and a dominatrix in December 2004 and January 2005. The transcripts quote Ward as fantasizing about naked children with no apparent reference to any subject he was researching. Police said he had sent photos to the woman that showed children engaged in sexual activity.

White Collar Crime Speaker – Chuck Gallagher – signing off…


Child Sexual Predator – CBS Technician Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison!

March 4, 2008

As a teen ethics speaker, I have found that over time, more and more presentations are centered on sexual predators, the internet and how to protect our youth from folks who mean them harm.

daniel-barron.jpg

On October 25, 2007, a Ft. Pierce Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging Daniel J. Barron with persuading, inducing, enticing or coercing a person under 18 to engage in sexual activity. Barron, a CBS freelance technician, was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida covering a Miami Dolphins football game. On September 29, 2007, Barron entered an America Online chat room and began to correspond with an undercover police officer posing as the father of an eleven year old girl. During internet communications, Barron repeatedly expressed his desire to engage in sexual activity with the child. Barron made plans to meet the father and his fictitious 11 year old daughter. Barron later traveled to the meeting location in order to engage in sexual activity with the child.

According to local10.com news: The affidavit alleges that Barron said hello and wrote, “So do you and the kids all enjoy some adventure?” When the detective identified himself as an adult with an 11-year-old daughter, Barron allegedly responded, “Very, very cool. Not a cop.”

According to the affidavit, Barron asked if the undercover detective and his fictitious daughter would visit him. When the detective said he wasn’t interested in fantasy chat, Barron allegedly responded, “I am very serious. You and the dau come down here.”

Every choice has a consequence. On March 3, 2008 Daniel J. Barron was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised released. At age 56, Barron will find the final years of his life marred by life in prison.

Sexual predators come from all walks of life and are all ages. One of the major issues that parents face is lack of knowledge of the playing field for sexual predators today.

Questions for Parents:

  1. Do you know what sites your children visit?
  2. Are you familiar with MySpace – Facebook and how social networking works?
  3. Would you know what to look for if your child was viewing inappropriate sites?