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How often are people falsely accused of child porn?

It's an ugly thought--the idea of some quiet, middle-aged man sitting in the dark somewhere while watching children subjected to sex acts. In fact, it's such a sickening thought that Indiana has strict child porn laws to protect children from such situations. However, these laws can backfire when people are falsely accused.

Few crimes stain a reputation as much as child porn. People who face charges may already be guilty in the public eye before they've even had a trial. But the truth is that not everyone is guilty, and people have the right to defend their names.

How do people end up falsely accused?

There are a few common ways that someone could find him or herself facing false child porn charges. These include:

  • Accidental exposure. CNET recently reported that Bing searches were yielding links to child porn. The report came even after Microsoft had taken measures to reduce or eliminate such links. The company admitted its staff might not have been using its screening tools as effectively as possible. This means some people might stumble across files by accident, trusting that a mainstream search engine like Bing won't lead them astray. Since law enforcement agencies often work with software that monitors such activity, clicking on one of the links could possibly trigger an investigation.
  • Someone plants the files or files a false report. NBC recently told the story of a man who died of a heart attack while the FBI was investigating him for child porn. The man had brought his phone to a Target store in Oregon for service, and one of the workers reported him to the authorities, saying his phone had child porn. The charges were false. The FBI found no evidence of illegal files. In 2018, Medium shared the story of a man whose ex-wife and her new husband had emailed child porn to his office, trying to plant them on him.
  • Files are delivered through malware. The term "sextortion" has recently made its way to Forbes and other news publishers thanks to the recent Phorpiex scam. The scammers claim they hacked people's computers and found evidence of their darkest sexual activities. Though the scam doesn't rely on feeding child porn files to people's computers, the fact that scammers have used people's computers to deliver their scam emails reminds us that computers are vulnerable. Hackers and malware can push different files across the net.

These are just a few of the ways people can find themselves falsely accused, but there are others. While it's easy to vilify people facing these charges, it's important to remember they are innocent until proven guilty.

At Kammen & Moudy, our attorneys understand the serious nature of false charges, and our clients can count on us to uphold their rights. We don't judge people prematurely. Instead, we pursue justice by questioning the evidence and the cases against our clients from every possible angle.

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