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Sex Crimes Archives

The basics of cybercrime and serious criminal charges

This blog recently discussed what child pornography charges include and, because many of them involve the use of a computer, it can be useful to also understand what qualifies as a "cybercrime," which refers to a variety of online activities that may be criminal and do not all refer, certainly, to sex crimes. To begin with, some cybercrimes are unique to online activity, such as hacking, while others are common crimes committed using a computer, like larceny or fraud.

What are child pornography charges?

There is little doubt that you are aware that child pornography charges are serious criminal charges but you may wonder exactly what they refer to and what the potential penalties are. Under both federal and state laws it is crime to possess, produce, distribute or sell pornographic materials that exploit or portray minors. Minors are considered children under the age of 18. Child pornography can include serious potential criminal penalties, as well as personal and social consequences, that the accused individual should be aware of.

Criminal defense protections for sex crimes charges

While sex crimes can sometimes be a sensitive topic of discussion, it is important that those accused of committing sex crimes understand that criminal defense protections apply to them, the accusations against them and the charges they are facing, as well. Sex crimes refer to a range of criminal charges and can result in serious penalties and consequences to accused individuals including prison time and registration requirements.

Defenses to a child pornography charge in Pennsylvania

A previous blog post discussed the Megan's Law registration requirement in Pennsylvania. Certain sex offenders who have been classified as sexually violent predators must register with the Pennsylvania Police Department for either ten years or for life, depending on the underlying offense. Although those convicted of a child pornography offense are not typically considered sexually violent predators, those who have multiple convictions for offenses related to sexual abuse of a child based on child pornography charges may be required to register and provide personal information to the public such as their names, home and employment addresses, photos and license plate numbers.

Megan's Law registration in Pennsylvania

A previous blog post discussed the consequences of a child pornography conviction in Pennsylvania. Photographing, filming and possessing child pornography are prohibited by both federal and Pennsylvania state law. A conviction related to child pornography carries not only a social stigma but also serious legal consequences, including a prison sentence of up to ten years.

Consequences of a child pornography conviction in Pennsylvania

Activities related to child pornography such as photographing, filming and possessing child pornography are prohibited by Pennsylvania state law and federal law. The mere accusation of a child pornography crime can cause the accused to live with a social stigma in addition to facing legal consequences. A conviction for a child pornography offense in Pennsylvania carries serious penalties and if it involves the internet, the convicted may face stiff federal penalties as well.

City pays $1.25 million to alleged sexual assault victim

It was recently reported that Philadelphia settled a lawsuit involving a woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted by a police commander. The city paid $1.25 million to the woman. However, the commander who allegedly committed the assault remains on the force eight months after the settlement. These are not the first allegations to surface against the commander, though. Another woman claimed he forced her into a sex act, but she later dropped her lawsuit.

Pennsylvania's forcible rape laws

A previous blog post discussed the state's statutory rape laws. Anyone under 16 is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse with an adult. Therefore, force and lack of consent are not elements required to prove statutory rape. However, force and lack of consent are key elements of rape.

Pennsylvania's statutory rape laws

Statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse with a person who is legally unable to consent to such activity. This age of consent is statutorily determined by state law and typically varies from 16 to 18 years old. Pennsylvania's age of consent is 16 years old, therefore anyone age 15 and younger is legally incapable of giving consent to engage in sexual intercourse with an adult.

Supreme Court rules on Pennsylvania sex offender registry

A recent ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court set a precedent for the proper application of the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), a law passed in 2012 to strengthen reporting requirements for sex offenders. In Pennsylvania v. Muniz, the Court held that SORNA's registration provisions constitute punishment, the retroactive application of which would violate the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions' ex post facto clauses. Therefore, SORNA may not be retroactively applied to offenders who committed sex crimes, prior to its enactment.

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