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Nine Louisiana men face federal child pornography charges

The Louisiana Attorney General's office recently announced that nine men had been arrested and charged with child pornography offenses after an undercover sting operation. The Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force organized the sting, named "Operation Blackjack," with the help of federal, state and local investigators in South Louisiana. The men will now face numerous federal charges related to possession, distribution and, in one case, production of child pornography. Investigators said they are continuing their work, and there may be more charges in the future.

Both Louisiana and federal law prohibit the possession, distribution and production of pornographic materials that portray minors. Prosecutors take child pornography charges extremely seriously.

The law treats child pornography differently from just about any other crime. Almost all kinds of photography or other expression are protected by freedom of speech, but child pornography is not. Minors cannot legally consent to appearing in pornographic materials, so those who make this kind of pornography are considered as sex offenders. What's more, the courts consider the minors to be victimized all over again every time someone sells the materials or sends them on the Internet, or even receives them.

The penalties for sex crimes such as child pornography are different the other crimes as well. Those convicted will likely have to register as sex offenders for many years to come even after they serve time in prison. This will severely affect their ability to travel freely, find employment or even find adequate housing.

Louisiana residents accused of child pornography do deserve a defense, and they need to begin building a defensive strategy as soon as they can. The charges are serious and the defense must be as well.

Source: The Advocate, "Nine arrested in child porn investigation," Robert Stewart, April 25, 2013

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