An Oklahoma airman was found guilty of child pornography charges at a court-martial earlier this month. Airman 1st Class Chad McClelland-Hall was charged after a roommate helping him with his computer found child porn videos downloaded to the computer while the men were deployed to Saudi Arabia. Though McClelland-Hall's defense attorneys argued that their client downloaded the videos unintentionally and did not know how to delete them, military judge Lt. Col. Grant Kratz found the airman guilty of possession of child pornography. The judge sentenced him to twenty months' confinement, stripped him of his rank, and ordered a bad conduct discharge. His sentence must be approved by the commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker Air Force Base. McClelland-Hall must also register as a sex offender.
Civilian law also holds strict penalties for conviction of child pornography. The crime may be charged as either a federal offense or state offense. Under Oklahoma law, possession of child pornography and its penalties are defined under Title 21 Chapter 39 Section 1021 of the state statutes. The law states that any person who "knowingly downloads on a computer . . . child pornography" is guilty of a felony sex crime punishable by a fine of $500 to $20,000 and incarceration between 30 days and 10 years in prison.
Other acts of child pornography, such as distribution of child pornography or procuring a child to participate in child pornography, are subject to much more stringent penalties. If a defendant entices, coerces, or forces a child younger than 12 years of age to participate in child pornography, the minimum sentence is 25 years incarceration with a maximum of life in prison.
Because pornographic images are so readily available online, and because mobile devices make photography and distribution of images virtually instantaneous, child pornography is quickly becoming one of the most prevalent computer sex crimes. It is important to remember that Oklahoma law deems sexual images of minors under the age of 18 to be child pornography, even though the age of consent for sex in Oklahoma is only 16. That means that a person who is legally able to consent to a sexual relationship may still be too young to consent to being photographed or videoed in a sexual context.
If you have been accused of possession or distribution of child pornography, it is critical to find an experienced attorney equipped to handle your defense. For more information, please visit /practice-areas/internet-sex-crimes.