August 13, 2014

Is Pornography Like a Drug to People With Sexual Compulsions?

Among individuals accused of pornography related cybercrimes in Florida and across the United States, many misconceptions exist. Suspects are often labeled as sex or pornography “addicts,” but these terms may not describe the behaviors to which they refer as accurately as people might think.

Does sex addiction have the same effects on the brain as drug addiction? Recent studies suggest it does, but experts advise against drawing faulty conclusions prematurely based on this evidence.

About 4 percent of adults exhibit compulsive sexual behaviors, including obsessive thoughts, feelings, and physical acts. However, the medical community has much to learn about what causes these impulses and what effects they have on individuals.

In a recent University of Cambridge trial, researchers found similarities between the brain scans of individuals with sexual impulse control problems and those of drug addicts. The study observed the brain activity of nineteen male patients with compulsive sexual behaviors against that of nineteen healthy volunteers.

Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure subjects’ brain activity using blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signals. In the tests, the brains of patients experiencing compulsive sexual behavior displayed comparatively more activity in three regions:

Dorsal anterior cingulate.
This region generates connections between cravings and rewards.

Ventral striatum. This section helps individuals process “reward and motivation” signals.

Amygdala. This area of the brain processes the meanings of emotions and events.

Similar reactions occurred in drug addicts exposed to drug-related stimuli.

These weren’t the only correlations scientists found between drug addiction and compulsive sexual behavior. In our next post, we will explore the behavioral aspects of the University’s research and discuss what this study means for better understanding what makes habitual porn users tick.

If you have been accused of a cybercrime involving pornography, you may feel as though society or law enforcement have unfairly labeled you. David Seltzer, an experienced Florida cybercrime attorney, can help you build a strong legal case to preserve your freedom and restore your good name. Contact Seltzer Law today at 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for a free consultation regarding your defense.

August 4, 2014

Disney Employee Responds to Child Sex Allegations

Unfounded allegations of cybercrimes involving children can be devastating and can ruin the lives of innocent people. Florida residents facing such allegations might identify with the recent case of a Disney employee accused of soliciting a 14-year-old girl for sex. The case has caused significant hardship to the 49-year-old Orlando man, who has suffered serious consequences following his arrest.

Robert Kingsolver, a service repair supervisor at the Magic Kingdom, was arrested late last week after detectives said he arranged to meet an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old girl. Upon his arrest, Kingsolver admitted he set up the meeting, but insisted he was concerned about the girl’s behavior and only agreed to meet the girl to keep her out of harm’s way, according to media reports.

Kingsolver entered a not guilty plea to the solicitation charge and is free on bond, but he is a virtual prisoner inside his Orlando home. He is unable to work and can rarely leave the house because he is prohibited from having any contact with children. Kingsolver, whose children staunchly support him, told CNN his life is ruined because of the allegations. He is one of 35 Disney employees snared since 2006 in police stings aimed at combating child pornography and exploitation.

The case against Kingsolver is just one example of how even an accusation of a crime related to child exploitation or child pornography can be devastating. If you or someone you love has been falsely accused of cybercrimes such as these, it is imperative to contact a Florida cybercrimes attorney for an aggressive defense. Cybercrime lawyer David Seltzer has years of experience and can help guide you through this difficult time.

Seltzer Law, P.A. is available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Don’t fight cybercrime accusations alone. Call 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for your free legal consultation today.

July 30, 2014

Breaking News from U.S. Sentencing Commission Good News for Offenders

Individuals serving sentences for cybercrimes in Florida will likely be interested in a recent development out of Washington, D.C., which may predict a change in how courts enforce sentencing guidelines.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission released a statement on July 18 indicating retroactive reduced sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of drug trafficking. According to this news release, those currently incarcerated for such crimes will become eligible for reduced sentences as early as November 2015.

This new development began in April 2014, when the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to decrease the “base offense levels” specified by the Drug Quantity Table, regardless of the type of drug. Since the decision, new defendants have been subject to the amended guidelines, often resulting in shorter sentences than those convicted prior to the change.

To eliminate or reduce this discrepancy, the Commission determined courts should apply the new guidelines to individuals who have already been convicted and begin issuing reduced sentences by November 1, 2015. Judges will review each case to determine whether an early release would pose a hazard to the public, or whether other circumstances might prevent an inmate from receiving a reduced sentence.

Not only will this initiative provide much-awaited clemency for prisoners, but it will also reduce severe crowding in prisons. The delayed implementation will allow authorities to arrange for adequate supervision and transitional services for each inmate.

This new development reflects a shift in the U.S. criminal justice system that will likely spread to other criminal areas. By allowing those currently incarcerated to enjoy reduced sentencing guidelines along with new defendants, the Commission has contributed to a fairer, more efficient, and less crowded prison system.

If you currently face Florida cybercrime charges, you are likely concerned about potential prison time. With the quality legal services of Seltzer Law, you will benefit from our years of experience helping clients get excellent results. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact us today at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333).

July 21, 2014

Teen in Virginia Sexting Case Accuses Authorities of Exploitation

In our last post, we introduced the story of a Manassas County, Virginia, teen accused of child pornography after he sent an explicit video to his 15-year-old girlfriend. As this strange case continues to unfold, numerous questions remain, including:

Was the act the 17-year-old committed really a crime if his girlfriend “precipitated” it with a “sext?”

Were the police within their rights to forcibly obtain a photo of the underage suspect’s erect penis?

Whose version of events is more accurate – that of the authorities, or that of the defense?

The complex circumstances surrounding this case may seem bizarre, but they are becoming more common as internet and smartphone users increasingly exchange explicit photos and videos. Recent cases have popped up all over the world in which individuals engage in virtual behaviors they may not realize are subject to cybercrime laws, including those regarding child pornography.

When using phones and computers to communicate, the best policy is to avoid any behavior that might be construed as illegal or become widely disseminated. Although individuals may believe a consensual relationship shields them from potential charges, complex laws govern the distribution of materials depicting nudity or sex acts. Protect yourself and your potential recipients from prosecution by refraining from sharing these images.

Similar to the teen in the Virginia sexting case, if you have been unfairly accused of a child pornography offense, you may feel mistreated and dehumanized by law enforcement officials. A Florida cybercrimes attorney with extensive knowledge of state and national laws can help you understand and assert your rights.

Cybercrimes lawyer David Seltzer has spent years working with defendants in complex cases regarding child pornography and other web-related charges. He works tirelessly to help clients wage strong defenses and avoid unwarranted punishments such as prison sentences, fines, and sex offender registration.

To set up your free consultation with Seltzer Law, contact us today at 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333).

July 16, 2014

Bizarre Virginia Teenage Sexting Case Raises Questions about Police Behavior

Florida residents who face unfounded child pornography charges may sympathize with the case of a Virginia teenager whose recent arrest raised significant questions about the lengths to which law enforcement officials may go to obtain a conviction.

The story involves a young couple – a 15-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy – living in Virginia. The girl sent a “sext” to her boyfriend, to which he allegedly responded with an explicit video. When the girl’s mother discovered the video, she went to the police.

Manassas County police arrested the boy and took pictures of his genitals for evidence. His lawyer, Jessica Harben Foster, says Commonwealth Prince William County assistant attorney also pressured the boy to plead guilty. If he did not do so, Foster claims, police would have issued a warrant requiring the boy to provide a photo of his erect penis.

How would authorities accomplish such a task? According to Foster, the police would take the boy to the hospital, “give him a shot” to produce an erection, and obtain the photographs. The boy refused to plead guilty, and the court issued the search warrant.

Carlos Flores Laboy, the guardian of the accused, expressed outrage at the seeming hypocrisy of the Manassas County police. In their attempt to enforce a statute that protects children from sexual exploitation, Laboy asserts, law enforcement officials are engaging in exploitative behavior themselves.

The Commonwealth’s attorney, Paul Ebert, disputes the defense’s claims regarding how the police handled the case. Ongoing investigations and an upcoming court date will likely provide additional insight.

In our next post, we will discuss the precedent that exists for cases such as these, as well as their implications for individuals in consenting relationships.

Sexting, video messages, and other seemingly innocuous activities can spell trouble, regardless of whether the recipient is willing to receive them. If you are facing cybercrime charges in Florida, call Seltzer Law today at 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) to begin your legal defense.

July 7, 2014

Columbus Medical Community Shocked by Pediatric Cancer Doctor’s Child Pornography Conviction

A once-renowned Columbus pediatric cancer physician will serve one year and one day in federal prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges. Christopher Pelloski, 40, had been using his personal computer, as well as an Ohio State University laptop, to access videos and photos inappropriately depicting children.

Although Pelloski had been engaging in these activities since 2007, authorities did not apprehend him until last summer. Investigators located 85 images and 2 videos as evidence against the doctor, who admitted his crimes upon his arrest.

The case has caused significant turmoil within Pelloski’s family and within the Columbus medical community, in which Pelloski worked for years treating children with cancer. Although no evidence indicated he harmed any of his patients, he acknowledged the fear and pain his actions caused to these children and their families.

Pelloski has lost his license to practice medicine, but he hopes to work in clinical research and advocate against child pornography in the future. He must also pay $10,000 in fines, register as a sex offender, and remain under federal supervision for five years after leaving prison. His internet use will also be restricted.

In both Florida and Ohio, accessing or viewing online pornographic images of children represents a serious crime that can change lives forever. In addition to legal consequences, such as prison sentences and fines, convicted individuals often lose their jobs, families, and reputations.

If you have been falsely accused of cybercrimes related to child pornography, contact a Florida cybercrimes attorney as soon as possible to preserve your freedom and character. Cybercrime lawyer David Seltzer thoroughly understands the laws related to your case, and he can help you form a strong defense to get your life back.

Seltzer Law, P.A. is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us today at 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for your free legal consultation.

July 2, 2014

Catholic Priest Pleads Guilty to Possessing over 1500 Child Pornographic Images

If you face Florida cybercrime charges, like possession of child pornography or solicitation, you may feel pretty trapped and scared about your future.

Odds are, however, that your case will get far less media attention than the case of Father Stanislaus Hogan, a Jesuit priest over in the UK, who collected 1,555 child pornographic images in his room at Saint Ignatius' College in Adelaide.

All told, the children in these publications ranged in age from 16-years-old to 3-months-old, and the 69-year-old allegedly compiled this trove over decades. Some of videos and magazines dated all the way back to the 1970s.

At a sentencing hearing, Hogan “made clear his intention to apply to be released from his vows.” One case observer said that Hogan had struggled all his life to try to reconcile his sexual proclivities with his line of work. He also confessed to having problems with alcohol – which his psychologist said stemmed from his inability to process his sexual impulses.

Approximately 70% of the images in his collection did not involve sexual activity, although they did involve nudity. Some images and videos, however, were highly explicit. He’s due to be sentenced in August.

Hogan’s tragic story is, tragically, a common one. People who want to watch child pornography often don’t understand where their impulses come from and don’t know how to control them. With proper counseling and intervention, people can get a handle on these impulses and stop them from wrecking their lives or at least from doing more damage than they’ve already done.

If you or someone you love stands accused of these kinds of charges, a Florida cybercrime attorney with Seltzer Law, PA, can help you put together an effective defense. Call us now at 1 888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for a free consultation.

June 23, 2014

New Law Criminalizes Child Pornography in Japan: Part 2

In our last post, we detailed the new legislation passed in Japan, making the possession of child pornography illegal. The most recent in a series of gradual changes noted by cybercrime defense attorneys, the law illustrates a gradual and welcome transformation to a culture that has been historically permissive of child exploitation.

However, no law can change the behavior of an entire nation overnight, and many stakeholders remain who continue to advocate for sexual depictions of children in various forms. In addition, many potentially exploitative practices remain legal and leave the door open for potential predators to find gratification.

The Loopholes

For instance, animated child pornography sources such as anime, manga, and computer-simulated video games are not covered under the new law. Although regulations prohibiting the sale of such materials to minors have been more heavily enforced in recent years, adults may still produce and possess them.

According to publishers, illustrations of underage children engaging in sexual acts don’t exploit real children. Artists, they claim, have a right to “freedom of expression,” and banning animated child porn would infringe on those rights. However, proponents of these items fail to account for the possible consequences of keeping them on the market.

Another remaining source of child exploitation in Japan is “borderline child pornography,” which pictures young girls in skimpy outfits and striking suggestive poses. Referred to as “junior idol,” these books and DVDs are still legal and sold at bookstores and convenience stores nationwide.

The junior idol genre is part of a larger culture that sexualizes underage girls, including celebrities such as pop group AKB48. Members as young as 13 often engage in suggestive behavior in their videos and commercial appearances, and their song lyrics contain some sexually provocative content.

Will Change Occur?

Considering the remaining cultural challenges and limitations of the new law, implementation may take a long time. For the next year, those in possession of incriminating materials will receive a “grace period” to allow time for disposal. After that, tough evidence requirements to obtain a search warrant may continue to hinder enforcement.

However, any progress in the war against child pornography is good news, and we applaud Japan’s latest step towards eradicating the exploitation of their most vulnerable individuals.

If you are facing false accusations of child pornography related offenses, a Florida cybercrime defense attorney can help you clear your name. Contact us today at (888) 843-3333.

June 18, 2014

New Law Criminalizes Child Pornography in Japan: Part 1

On June 4, the House of Representatives in Tokyo passed much-awaited legislation making the possession of child pornography illegal. It may come as a shock to many readers that it took so long for the country to pass such a law, though cybercrime defense attorneys have been in the know on this fact for years. Japan has long held the dubious distinction of being the only developed country that hadn’t yet banned child porn.

Japan: A Different Attitude

To understand this phenomenon, one must account for cultural considerations. Japan has been historically tolerant towards recreational sexual exploitation of children, even more so than that of adults. A July 2012 arrest of four Kyoto men for purchasing kiddie porn was the first such occasion since World War II.

Creating anti-child pornography legislature presented many challenges and strong resistance from various parties. Because Japan produces and consumes more child pornography than any other country, it represents a significant part of the economy and culture for its creators and users. An estimated 10 percent of men own or watch child pornography, and 80 percent of internet child porn originates in Japan.

The fight against child pornography began in 1999, when creation and distribution were criminalized. It continued in Kyoto in October 2011, when a new ordinance created fines and possible jail time for offenders. Finally, the Liberal Democratic Party introduced the current bill, which will impose a million-yen fine or a year in prison for those caught possessing such materials.

Opposition to Needed Change

Opponents of the law included the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, as well as the anime and publishing industries – and, of course, the consumers themselves, who may not have been as willing to identify themselves. Although the new law does not eliminate materials such as manga, anime, and computer-generated images depicting children engaging in sexual acts, creators of such materials fear the legislation will lead to future restrictions on their activities.

The Future of Child Porn in Japan

The recently passed law is a significant step towards the complete eradication of child pornography in Japan. However, resistant populations and an entrenched culture of exploitation will likely present difficulties during its implementation. Our next post will discuss the remaining challenges facing Japanese anti-child pornography initiatives.

If you are facing false accusations of child pornography related offenses, a Florida cybercrime defense attorney can help you clear your name. Contact Seltzer Law today at (888) 843-3333.

June 9, 2014

Returning to “Life As Usual” After Fighting Back Against Florida Child Pornography or Solicitation Charges -- Part 2

As someone who stands falsely accused of a serious crime, like Florida child pornography or solicitation, you are desperate for help and also hungry for answers about what you can do to protect your rights.

In our last post, we discussed why so many defendants in desperate need often resist getting legal assistance (and other help) and how you can overcome that psychological resistance.

Once you have started the legal defense process, you may need to confront other painful realities. For instance, let’s say that your lawyer manages to get you acquitted of charges or allows you to plea to a lesser offense. In other words: you get your freedom back.

That should be considered a huge victory. But then you face huge obstacles in terms of rebooting your career, normalizing your relationships and rebuilding your future.

Let’s focus today on how to reestablish your career. First things first, if your employer won’t let you come back to work, you may not have much recourse. Even if you can return to work in some capacity, brace yourself for a challenging time with coworkers, bosses and even clients. Talk to your attorney about how to discuss your case with colleagues, so that you can provide the needed information about your legal background without having to cite line and verse about what happened to you in court.

You might even want to prepare and memorize a script to recite, whenever someone asks you about your arrest or your history… or perhaps about your time behind bars. This way, you can alleviate discomfort others may have around you and minimize the chances of people talking behind your back.

Alternatively, you might need to retool and/or find a new place to work, where people might be more respectful or at least understanding. Depending on what happened, you may or may not have to disclose your criminal history to any new employer.

In either case, appreciate that your journey might be long, arduous and filled with unpleasant surprises. To that end, try to find support not just at work but also in your personal life. Ask yourself:

• "Who in my life might offer empathy and good guidance?"
• "Can I find support groups in the area to discuss my feelings in a compassionate environment?"
• "Can I find a trustworthy therapist to assist me?"

Be discerning in your relationships. Some people may not have supported you, when you needed their help the most. Consider spending less time with those people and recruiting new and healthier relationships. It can be quite painful to see great relationships destroyed by lies for no reason. But sometimes relationships cannot be salvaged. Sometimes, it takes a long time for the healing process to begin.

No matter what tactics you try, the first step should be to connect with an experienced Florida cybercrime defense lawyer at Seltzer Law, PA. Call us immediately at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with our team.

June 4, 2014

Returning to “Life As Usual” After Fighting Back Against Florida Child Pornography or Solicitation Charges -- Part 1

For the past several weeks and months, this blog has focused intensely on child pornography and solicitation defense. Why? We believe that these defendants are vastly underserved. There are almost no resources online (or elsewhere) to help them understand their problems.

Other criminal defendants enjoy a wealth of compassion from many sources. Even people charged with committing violent crimes, such as assault, rape and murder enjoy some degree of compassion from society. But people charged with certain computer pornography charges find themselves persona non grata. This almost universal lack of compassion is shameful.

Sure, many people find these charges viscerally offensive and disgusting. But why can't we have a more accurate, mindful conversation about what causes people to commit these crimes and what can be done for offenders, other than just punishing them brutally?

The situation can be brutal for people falsely accused of child pornography or cybercrime charges. Such accusations can torpedo careers, end relationships and lead to suicidal depression in the accused.

Bearing all that in mind, in today’s post and at least one that will follow, we are going to talk in depth about what someone falsely accused can do to repair damage to relationships, career and self-esteem. Today, we will address a fundamental issue – an issue that, if not solved, may make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to address the other more “downstream” problems. And that issue is this: if you wait too long to address your cybercrime charges -- to get legal assistance -- your defense can become much harder, maybe even impossible. Reasons people delay getting help can include:

• Fear of confronting the scary reality of potentially spending decades behind bars;
• Confusion about whom to trust and how to find an attorney who has a track record to assist and who will be willing to take the case;
• A lack of self-esteem and self-confidence precipitated (or in some cases even preceded) by the arrest that leads to a general sense of torpor;
• A lack of time and energy to pick up the phone caused by all the legal commotion.

Breaking out of this inertia is actually quite hard and requires no small amount of willpower. In some ways, it’s like melting ice. Before you can even raise the temperature of ice one degree, you first must overcome what is known as the “heat of enthalpy” -- this is the energy it takes to transform ice from solid state to liquid state. Likewise, before you can make progress on your case, you first need to overcome your resistance to getting legal assistance. We are here to help. Whenever you are ready, pick up the phone and call Seltzer Law, PA at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) to speak with us about your Florida cybercrime defense.

May 26, 2014

Has Someone You Love Been Arrested on Horrific Charges, Like Florida Child Pornography Or Solicitation? [What Can You Do?]

Maybe investigators just knocked at your door and arrested your husband on charges of internet pornography crime or solicitation. Or maybe you just received news that a close friend from high school or a family member has come under investigation for similarly disturbing cybercrimes.

Even though you love the person and care about him or her, you are also deeply disturbed by the allegations and confused about how to relate to the situation. Unfortunately, there are no simple answers. Right now, you may be riding conflicting emotions. On the one hand, you care about the person and want to believe the best. On the other hand, you may be so outraged or sickened by what has been alleged that you cannot access your more compassionate emotions.

First off, appreciate that you're taking time to think through and work through these feelings. Also, know that you are not the first person blindsided by these problems.

Before you have critical conversations with the person who stands accused, consider going through the following exercise, so that you can speak coherently and compassionately.

Rather than impulsively discussing the accusations with the friend or loved one, take time to collect your thoughts and think through how you want any conversation to proceed. Prepare for the conversation, almost like you might prepare for a job interview or for a pivotal conversation with a new client. Really think through:

• What could go wrong;
• What you could say that could cause hurt feelings;
• How you might react to revelations that the person tells you;
• How you need to be during the conversation. (For instance, you might want to make sure that you're rested, well fed and safe during the conversation.)
• After you talk with the person, schedule time with a therapist or close friend to discuss what happened, so you don’t have to process the events yourself.
• You might also want to record your thoughts in a journal – before, during, and after any key conversations.
• Think through the logistics of your household. For instance, if your husband might stay in jail indefinitely, while the accusations get sorted out, you may need to make alternative arrangements regarding child care, your work, etc.

Withhold judgment, and make sure that all the facts get heard. People accused of cybercrimes – particularly pornographic crimes – often wind up isolated, even from friends or family members. The allegations may be false, or the truth may be much less alarming than authorities have suggested. Withhold judgments for now, seek to understand and support your own needs (and the needs of your family), and get support.

Turn to the team here at Seltzer Law, PA, at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (888-843-3333) for 24 hour assistance with Florida cybercrime defense. Our team has the resources, experience and sensitivity to help you and your family get through this troubling time.