What Crime is Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing of Child Pornography in NJ?
Recently, several high-profile New Jersey cases involving the distribution of child pornography have been showing up in the headlines. This week, several sources – including Press of Atlantic City and NJ.com – have reported on a New Jersey defendant who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges. The case originates from a 2013 arrest of 28 individuals, including the defendant in question.
With cases like these in the news, it’s important to keep in mind that Distribution of Child Pornography – a crime considered more serious than Possession of Child Pornography under the New Jersey Criminal Code – often occurs when someone uses a peer-to-peer network. Section N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(b)(5) (a) of the code says:
A person commits a crime of the second degree if, by any means, including but not limited to the Internet, he: (i) knowingly distributes an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child; (ii) knowingly possesses an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child with the intent to distribute that item; or (iii) knowingly stores or maintains an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child using a file-sharing program which is designated as available for searching by or copying to one or more other computers.
Also, it does not matter whether the item of child pornography was ever actually received or viewed by another person. In fact, it doesn’t even matter if the person in possession of the item of child pornography never intended to make the file available for distribution:
In a prosecution under sub-subparagraph (iii) of this subparagraph, the State shall not be required to offer proof that an item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child had actually been searched, copied, transmitted or viewed by another user of the file-sharing program, or by any other person, and it shall be no defense that the defendant did not intend to distribute the item to another user of the file-sharing program or to any other person. Nor shall the State be required to prove that the defendant was aware that the item depicting the sexual exploitation or abuse of a child was available for searching or copying to one or more other computers, and the defendant shall be strictly liable for failing to designate the item as not available for searching or copying by one or more other computers.
A child pornography or any other sex crime conviction is ruinous to an individual’s status in the community. An accused person faces significant prison exposure, as well as placement on the New Jersey Sex Offender Registry (Megan’s Law) and Parole Supervision for Life (PSL). This greatly harms future employment, housing, and educational opportunities.
If you or a loved one have been accused of distribution of child pornography or any other sex offense, do not hesitate to reach out to a knowledgeable, experienced attorney. The lawyers at our firm have plenty of experience handling Megan’s Law and child pornography cases and welcome you to contact our firm online, or by calling 973.540.0054.
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