Sixteen suspected child predators were recently arrested in northeastern Pennsylvania. The arrests and the publication of the names of the suspects shows how even an arrest for such a crime – even without a trial or without a conviction – can easily damage the reputation of the person charged with such a crime.
On Feb. 13, 2015 Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced the arrests of 16 men suspected of committing various sex crimes against children. A local television station reported the arrests and posted the names of the men, their pictures and an enumeration of the charges against each on its web site. A local newspaper on Monday printed the names of the sixteen men, also with a list of the charges against each of them. The details of the sweep operation were not made public, other than an acknowledgment that the Attorney General’s Child Predator Section and “several police agencies” participated.
The most common charges included crimes such as possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility. The last such charge was based on the allegation that several of the men used the internet to distribute child pornography. A few of the 16 were charged with more serious crimes such as unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault and attempted indecent assault.
The individual backgrounds of the accused men was not disclosed, but there can be little doubt that the publication of the names of the accused and the listing of the charges they face will cause significant damage to their reputations and disruptions in their personal lives, even if any of them should be acquitted. Any person charged with a sex crime should immediately seek representation by a competent criminal defense attorney with experience in handling such cases. Such a lawyer will know how to minimize harmful public disclosures in addition to evaluating the case and formulating an aggressive defense.
Source: 6ABC News, “PHOTOS: 16 ARRESTED FOR CHILD SEX OFFENSES IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA,” Feb. 13, 2015