Child Offenses and the Internet Minefield

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According to recently compiled data, about two-thirds of the pending appeal cases in the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces are related to the sexualization of minors. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the most military personnel are involved with child exploitation. However, it could mean that there are still many unclear lines regarding online behavior. Navigating the internet can be more dangerous than you might think. If you need legal assistance, Military Trial Defenders are ready to help. 

A Minefield of Dangerous Content

As military personnel acquire greater access to technology through smartphones, laptops, and other electronic devices, they also gain increased access to the dangerous content that lurks on the world wide web. Not everything on the internet is dangerous, of course. It is still, however, far too easy to stumble across incriminating content that you were not looking for. It is also far too easy to fall into a trap of desensitization. One inappropriate advertisement or sexually charged photo can easily lure people down a path they wouldn’t typically choose for themselves. 

In many respects, the Internet can be a minefield. You may think you are treading lightly, and then all of a sudden you step on a trap. Even possession of one incriminating image can result in either a conviction, confinement, a punitive discharge, sex offender registration, or the loss of a military career.

Codes, Definitions, and Clarifications

Child exploitation is deemed illegal under Article 134, Clause 3 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is also considered a Title 18 offense under the U.S. Code (18 USC, Chapter 110). Child exploitation is defined as: “the visual depiction, through electronic, digital, or other media, of the sexual activity or genitals (depicted in a lewd or salacious manner) of a person under the age of eighteen.”

The law prohibits the possession, production, and distribution of such images, and the military enforces this law with aggressive investigations and prosecutions. Regardless of whether a member of the military engages in pornography on a military computer, a personal computer, or a cellular device, the service member can be investigated and convicted. Individual circumstances are not weighed as heavily as straightforward facts and hard evidence. For this reason, it is important to gain assistance from an experienced military attorney. An attorney can examine the evidence that the government holds and can offer advice regarding independent computer forensics examinations and defense strategies.

A Solid Defense is Paramount in Child Exploitation Cases

If you are under investigation for a case involving child exploitation, there is absolutely no time to waste. Internet sex crimes are particularly challenging to unravel. A military lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of your case by considering internet search laws, lawful search and seizure, and precedent cases. Don’t hesitate – contact the attorneys at Military Trial Defenders for help.

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