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"Possession" of Child Pornography- What Does It Mean?

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Hershey Medical Center doctor-in-training suspended over child-porn investigation

By Attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini, Criminal Law Division Leader, Harrisburg, PA

Published: Friday, July 01, 2011, 4:34 PM Updated: Friday, July 01, 2011, 4:49 PM

 By The Patriot-News

Penn State Hershey Medical Center says it has put a doctor-trainee on leave after being informed by police about an investigation into suspected child pornography.

A medical center spokesman said: "Law enforcement agencies have informed Penn State Hershey Medical Center of a search warrant involving a physician-in-training who has been employed at the medical center in the division of pediatric hematology/oncology for the past year.

There are so many reports of persons "possessing" child pornography.  But, just what does possession mean in terms of committing a crime?  Can I be found guilty if I'm looking at adult porn on the internet and I accidentally stumble onto some "kiddie porn?"  Or, does it require that I download the photos into a file somewhere?

The answer may not be so simple.  In COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania v. Anthony DIODORO (2007), the Pa Supreme Court ruled that the evidence was sufficient to establish that defendant knowingly possessed or controlled 30 images of child pornography so as to support conviction for sexual abuse of children.  The actions of controlling pornography were sufficient to show possession.  Here, the defendant intentionally sought out and viewed pornography, actions of operating computer mouse, locating websites, opening sites, displaying images on computer screen, and closing sites, were affirmative steps corroborating intent to control child pornography.

While it may not be possession if you stumble across one image that may be kiddie porn, there may be more of a case if there are multiple images on your hard drive.  If you have questions about a case, contact the experienced team at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLCtoll free or email us.

1 Comment

How can someone be charged for child pornography after stumbling across a site by accident?????? I think this is so wrong in so many different was I can see if the person was searching for and trading images of children then yes, thats warrants any arrest but sending an innocent person to jail is WRONG!

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