Child Pornography viewers not Pedophiles

Aiken, Peter D.

By Attorney Peter D Aiken, State and Federal Child Pornography Defense Attorney.

There is a misconception that people who view child pornography go on to become child molesters.

The actual statistics do not support this hypothesis.  As a criminal defense attorney, I have defended countless cases in both the Federal Courts as well as the State Courts.  Over the years, I have found that most of the people who view kiddie porn do so in the privacy of their home and never go on to have contact with any minor. 

People are shaped by their past and their childhood. Many of the people who view this material at one time or another were at one time victims themselves of sex abuse. There is a tremendous difference between men who look at prepubescent children and young teenage girls. There is a world of difference between looking  at something and acting on it. Let me make it clear. I am not a proponent of child pornography. It is unhealthy and against the law. The answer though is not necessarily long prison sentences.

There is a world of difference between a contact sex crime and a non contact sex offense. Unfortunately, now, you can get more time in prison for looking at a video than actually committing a contact sex offense.

In the last few weeks I have seen sentences for viewing child pornography in the 20 to 25 year range.  In that same period, I have seen cases where there is actual contact with an actual teenage girl (14) with a sentence of as low as four years. 

The system is out of whack when it comes to child pornography prosecutions.  The system is out of whack when it comes to sex offender registration.  Under the current law, there is no difference between a person becoming a registered sex offender for looking at a video and actually molesting a child. 

In Florida, we need reform of the sex offender registration laws.  If a loved one is charged in either Federal Court of the State Courts with either possession of child pornography or even worse, distribution of child pornography, be prepared for a long uphill legal battle.  They are handing out life sentences for looking at pictures. 

I have been defending child porn cases now for thirty years. There are technical defenses. There may be a defect in the prosecution’s case. These cases are not hopeless. It takes tough lawyering  to get good results.