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Category Archives: 24-25A Child Pornography Victories

State v. Mr. S (DMC No. 13089) – (20 Counts) Felony Sexual Exploitation of a Minor/Child Pornography – Not Charged – Mesa Police Department Investigated (DR No. 20XX-XXXXXX2)

Mr. S lived in Mesa when his 16-year old daughter was visiting from Wisconsin. Mr. S had previously gone through a tumultuous divorce with his ex-wife and she had been alienating his daughter against him. Although the daughter had to come out to Arizona pursuant to the custody/visitation orders, she preferred to stay in Wisconsin with her new boyfriend.

At some point during the visit, the daughter called her mother and stated that she had found 20 photos of a 10-year old girl on Mr. S’s computer. She claimed that they were provocative poses and that the girl’s pants were unzipped. The mother immediately called the police and had Mr. S investigated. The daughter flew home to Wisconsin immediately.

We became involved, and we were able to show that none of the pictures actually showed the genital region of the 10-year old girl.  In addition, we were able to show Mesa PD that his daughter had the police called on him twice by the mother while in Wisconsin. In addition, the daughter had called her father 3 to 4 months ago claiming that she was worried that the police would take her and put her in foster care because of “problems” with her mother. The daughter also had one other incident of making a false allegation when she was in grade school, where she claimed she was “touched inappropriately” in order to avoid having to be at that school. She admitted to this lie.

We explained to the Police that it appeared that the daughter merely wanted to go home early to see her boyfriend and that she was creating drama. The Police asked for our client’s computer, and we indicated they would need a Search Warrant. We also informed them that it would be nearly impossible to show probable cause without a statement that there was actual genitalia involved and photos of a sexually graphic nature, none of which the daughter had initially reported. Ultimately, no charges were brought against Mr. S. Initially he was facing potentially a minimum of 200 years in prison if he were to be convicted on all charges.

State v. Mr. S (DMC No. 14796) – Felony Sexual Exploitation of a Minor/Child Pornography (DCAC), Felony Aggravated Luring of a Minor for Sexual Exploitation (DCAC) and Felony Transmitting Obscene Materials to a Minor – Dismissed – Surprise Police Department Investigated (SW14-0802800) and Maricopa County Superior Court (Case No. PF2015-138656).

Mr. S was a 29-year old financial advisor who was licensed by FINRA. He was alleged to have started an online conversation of a sexual nature with his wife’s friend’s daughter who was 14. The allegations were that he solicited naked photographs from her and she sent five pictures to him. In addition, allegations were made that there were three naked videos of them that were sent back and forth. Ultimately, the girl entered a psychiatric hospital because she was suicidal. She was also a “cutter” and she claimed she had been raped by her cousin. The Surprise Police Department then executed a Search Warrant, seized all of Mr. S’s computers and arrested him.

We became involved in the case immediately after Mr. S was released from custody. While the forensic analysis of the computers and iPhones were pending, we handled the case for 11 months and gathered evidence to show that the girl had a history of lying and making things up. Ultimately, Detectives phoned and said they would be arresting Mr. S, and we arranged a self-surrender at the Surprise Police Department. Once he was taken into custody, we then handled the Initial Appearance. We successfully argued to the Judge that there was no Probable Cause for the Aggravated Luring charge, or the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor charge, due to the fact that the photographs and videos never showed any faces, and it was impossible to determine whether the ages were below 18-years of age. However, Probable Cause was found for 1 Count of Furnishing Obscene Materials to a Minor.

Next, we contacted the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and spoke with the Deputy County Attorney handling the case. We informed her that the problems on the other two cases also applied to the remaining charge. Ultimately, she agreed with us and she “turned down” the case for prosecution. All charges were ultimately Dismissed, and the Surprise Detectives were not happy about this. After these charges were Dismissed, somebody purporting to be the alleged victim contacted Mr. S on social media in order to gain “closure.” We suspected that this was Undercover Detectives attempting to secure some type of admission from Mr. S. No admissions were ever made, and no charges were ever brought against Mr. S.

Originally, he was facing potentially over three decades in prison if he were to be convicted on all three charges run consecutively. He has no criminal record and has preserved his FINRA license.

Felony Child Prostitution (4 Counts) Felony Sexual Exploitation of Minor/Child Pornography and (4 Counts) Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Public Sexual Indecency & Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor Reduced to 5 Years in Prison – State v. Mr. A (DMC No. 13606) (Maricopa County Superior Court CR2015-114258): Mr. A had been living with a roommate for many years.  Also with the roommate had two young daughters who lived with them. Mr. A thought that one of the daughters was now 18 years of age, when in reality she was 15 years old.  He and another woman engaged in sex acts with the 15 year old, all while on videotape.  He also offered money for this activity along with alcohol.  He was ultimately charged with Child Prostitution per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3212, and 4 counts of Child Pornography (because some of the acts were filmed), 4 counts of Sexual Conduct with a Minor, along with Public Sexual Indecency and Contributing to the Delinquency of Minor.

He was facing the rest of his life in prison, and his only defense was that he thought she was 18 years of age.  This defense was problematic, due to the fact that he also admitted that he knew her since she was 8 years old when he first met her, yet that was only 7 years prior.  This would put her age at 15.  Ultimately the state made several offers which eventually got down to a low offer of a stipulated 5 years in prison.  Mr. A accepted that offer, which was far below the standard offer for these types of charges.

Federal Felony Child Pornography Reduced to Probation with 3 years in Prison – U.S. v Mr. D (DMC No. 12883) (United States District Court, District of Arizona No. 2:14-CR-019396-SRB):  Mr. D worked for a local wireless company.  FBI Agents were running a software program in order to search Bit Torrent P2P networks for IP addresses that were file sharing child pornography.  A hit came up on the Cox network with the IP address registered to Mr. D.  It indicated that there were 19 images of child pornography which had been downloaded and distributed.

The FBI executed a search warrant at Mr. D’s residence and they found numerous computers.  When they interviewed Mr. D he denied ever searching specific child pornography websites, but he did search for some terms which could be linked with child pornography.  Subsequent searches revealed numerous images of child pornography on his computers.

We were brought into the case and we immediately had our forensic experts analyze Mr. D’s computers.  Although these computers had five secured wireless access points, it was still possible that somebody else may have used his system and downloaded the images of child pornography.  Because of the potential defenses, the Prosecutor offered Probation with 3 years of prison.   The initial offer was for 10 years of prison, and if Mr. D would have gone to trial and lost on all counts, he would have spent the rest of his life in prison.

Felony Luring a Minor for Sexual Purposes, Felony Sexual Exploitation of a Minor/Child Pornography, & Felony Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials to a Minor Not Charged – State v. Mr. T (DMC No. 13971) (South Carolina Sheriff’s Office Investigated):  Mr. T was on the website “Plenty of Fish” and had conversations with numerous women who were 18 years of age and older.  He received a call from somebody purporting to be a Deputy from the South Carolina Sherriff’s Office claiming that he had gotten a call from an under aged girl’s father stating that Mr. T had sent photos of his penis to her.  Mr. T denied this and the Detective indicated that he was lying.  The Detective also indicated that Mr. T had spoken to the victim’s father, who had called him.

In reality, Mr. T had spoken to some girls who stated they were over the age of 18.  Two of them had sent him unsolicited photos of themselves naked.  When we got involved, we began contacting the South Carolina Sherriff’s Office and they had never heard of the Deputy who had contacted Mr. T. Through more investigation, we had discovered that this was an ongoing scam, conducted by scammers who would pose as women and send naked photos to men all over the country, then shake them down for financial payments with the threat of prosecution.  If Mr. T were actually charged with these crimes and convicted, he could have spent well over 20 years in prison.  Because we exposed this as a scam fairly quickly, he did not end up sending the “ransom money” that had been requested of him.  No charges were ever brought, and he has no blemish on his record.

(Multiples Counts) Federal Felony Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography (1,100 Videos and 2,600 Pictures) Reduced to Probation with 36 Months in Prison – US v. Mr. D (DMC No. 12463) (United States District Court – District of Arizona 2:14-CR-01047-ROS):

FBI Forensic Computer Experts discovered Mr. D on the internet exchanging images and videos of child pornography.  A search warrant was executed on Mr. D’s house and he was arrested.   He admitted his involvement and cooperated.  He was charged with the Federal Statute 18 USC 2252 and 18 USC 2256.  He was facing the rest of his life in prison due to the amount of images he possessed.

We were able to show through Mitigation that he had never actually committed a hands-on offense with a child.  We also conducted a Psycho-Sexual Risk Evaluation we showed him to be a low risk to re-offend and not a threat to the general public.  Lastly, we cooperated with Investigators, and they were allowed to take over his computer user identity, which allowed them to potentially apprehend other violators. We secured a plea agreement that had a range of 5 to 10 years, with the ability for the Federal Judge to depart downward. Ultimately, the Judge agreed with us and did a downward departure to only 3 years in prison.

(3 Counts) Felony Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation & (1 Count) Felony Attempted Sexual Conduct with a Minor Reduced to Probation with Zero Days in JAILState v. Mr. H (DMC No. 12255) (Yavapai County SuperiorCourt CR2013-80419):

Mr. H was on the Zoosk dating website which requires users to be over 18 years of age.  He contacted a woman claiming to be 21 years old.  This person was actually an undercover Detective.  When he did contact her, she then stated online that she was 13 years old.  At first Mr. H did not believe her that she was only 13 years old.  He then asked for a photo and she sent one of a 13 year old girl (who is now an adult).  The Detective communicated with Mr. H over the course of months. Eventually all the talk became sexual and photographs were sent back and forth which were of a sexual nature.  He also solicited her to meet with him to “take her virginity”.  They discussed the fact that he was 25 and she was 13, and they agreed to meet at a park.  She asked him to bring alcohol and when he pulled up to the park, he was immediately arrested.  He invoked his right to remain silent and was ultimately charged with 3 counts of Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation and Attempted Sexual Conduct with a Minor.  He was facing 3.25 to 16.25 years in prison.

We were able to show that Mr. H did not actually believe this person was 13 years old.  He thought it was a game being played by somebody who was actually 21 years old.  We were also able to demonstrate that if he arrived at the park, and she had in fact looked like a 13 year old, he would have immediately left and ceased all communication with her. We were ultimately were able to secure an offer to Probation which included zero days in jail.

(4 Counts) Felony Luring a Minor for Sexual Exploitation (Dangerous Crimes Against Children), (3 Counts) Felony Sexual Exploitation of a Minor) (DCAC) & (4 Counts) Felony Furnishing Harmful or Obscene Materials to a Minor Reduced to 4 Amended Counts with 10 Years in Prison – State v. Mr. B (DMC No. 13767) (Santa Cruz Superior Court CR-15-136):

Mr. B was a teacher at an elementary school in which he had an 8thgrade female student.  The student began receiving threatening texts from other students who were cyber-bullying her.  This resulted in the police becoming involved and analyzing her phone.  During their investigation, they found text messages which were inappropriate between Mr. B and the victim.  There were also nude photographs which had been exchanged.

A search warrant was executed on Mr. B’s phone and at his house the next day.  He was interviewed and admitted to exchanging nude photographs with the victim. He immediately submitted his resignation and surrendered to law enforcement.  Because the victim was 13 years of age, and he was 27 years of age and in a position of authority (i.e. her teacher), he was charged with 11 felonies, which could have resulted in him spending the rest of his life in prison. After conducting a Psycho-Sexual Risk Evaluation which showed him to be an alcoholic, (in which he was drunk when he participated this crime), we were able to show that he was a low risk to re-offend if sober.  An offer was obtained which allowed the judge to sentence him as high as 12 years, but instead he was sentenced to only 10 years.  Because the charges were reduced, he has the chance to only do 8.5 years of that time if he behaves well in prison.  When he gets out, he will still have another 50 plus years of his life ahead of him as a free man.

FELONY SEXUAL EXPLOITATION of A MINOR and FELONY SEXUAL CONDUCT with A MINOR NOT CHARGED – State v. Mr. L (DMC No. 14929) (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office DR No. 2015-XXXXXX): At the time this investigation Mr. L would have been a 23-year old male. This investigation arose out of a polygraph conducted by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office as part of an employment background check. Mr. L had been questioned about a variety of issues including prior sexual conduct. After the interview, Detective’s claimed Mr. L sent an email to the polygraphist stating that his answers had been incomplete as he had subsequently remembered an encounter with a young woman at his college. He allegedly stated that the young woman who had told him she was 18, sent him topless pictures and Mr. L further indicated that he subsequently learned that she was not 18 years old and that he did not ask for the pictures and did not save them.

In a subsequent interview based on the email, Mr. L’s situation worsened substantially when Detectives claim he indicated that he had in fact had numerous sexual encounters with the young lady. Mr. L allegedly further disclosed that he had received numerous naked pictures from the young lady and that he had kept them for a period of several months until he dropped his phone in milk while he was eating cereal. At the conclusion of that follow-up interview, the examiner sent a report to the Sex Crimes Bureau of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office along with a copy of the recorded examination requesting an investigation for Sexual Conduct with a Minor per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1405, and Sexual Exploitation of a Minor per Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-3553.  When Sex Crimes Detectives followed up with Mr. L he invoked his right to counsel and came to see us.

After Mr. L retained us, we immediately reached out to the investigating Detective. The Detective informed us that the investigation was still in the initial stages. They were interested in continuing to investigate and obtain the information to contact the young lady involved. We advised the investigating Detective that our client would not be making further statements to him. We then followed that up with a written invocation of rights signed by our client. We also immediately sent a letter of representation to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and advised them that if the case is presented to a grand jury our client wished to inform the grand jury that he was prepared to appear and testify if they requested.

Based upon our immediate intervention, the Detective was unable to obtain further corroboration of identity or a crime, and he cleared the case as “inactive”.

Mr. C had 4 children by way of his wife. He and his wife had put a camera inside of his daughters’ room for safety monitoring, and had informed their daughter of this. Mr. C and his wife also lived the “swinger” lifestyle. As they were getting ready to go through a divorce, ms. C filed a police report claiming that mr. C had sexual conduct with his daughter, had videotaped her masturbating, and had expressed an interest in having an incestuous relationship with her. The police conducted a “confrontation call”, in which they attempted to have mr. C make admissions. He did not make any admissions. However, he was arrested and charged with 2 counts of child molestation/ a dangerous crimes against children (DCAC), 2 counts of sexual abuse (DCAC) and 1 count of voyeurism pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1424. He was then taken into custody and held “non bondable” while his case progressed.

We were retained to represent him on the criminal charges and began our investigation. The daughters’ story did not match up regarding some of her facts, plus she was biased in favor or her mother due to the pending divorce. Because she knew off the existence of the camera in her room, the prosecutor was going to have a difficult time proving some of the elements of voyeurism. The major hurdle in the case was a video recording of his daughter masturbating which was found on mr. C’s personal computer. We were ultimately able to have the case reduced to probation with 6 months in jail (credit for the time he already served and no sex offender registration). Mr. C was released from custody immediately after sentencing. He originally was facing the rest of his life in prison if he would have been convicted of these charges.

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