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Social Media: Its Relationship To Child Pornography

Police arrested a man at a Chicago restaurant after his girlfriend allegedly found images of child pornography on his phone.

According to his now ex-girlfriend, she suspected he was cheating on her. She had found sexual conversations he had with other women on his phone in past incidents.

Upon checking the man's cellphone for evidence of cheating, she found at least five images of children, some of whom were engaging in sexual acts and others were posing in a lewd manner, according to court records. Some of the images contained children under the age of five, according to prosecutors.

The ex-girlfriend opened the "Whisper" app on the man's phone. The app is described as an "anonymous social media, allowing users to post and share photo and video messages anonymously." Prosecutors state that the accused had requested and received "at least five pictures of child pornography."

The accused also bragged on the app about being a "pedo" and having sex "with lots of young girls" between the ages of 14 and 17, prosecutors add. Leigh McManus "Pedophile is arrested in a Chicago restaurant after his girlfriend found child sex abuse images on a secret phone application when she suspected he was cheating on her" www.dailymail.co.uk (Mar. 04, 2019).

Commentary and Checklist

Developers of the “Whisper” app describe it as “the largest online platform where people share real thoughts and feelings, forge relationships and engage in conversations on an endless variety of topics – without identities or profiles.”

The anonymity provided to users of the app makes this appealing to many people. There are certain individuals who want to participate in social network discussions without having to identify themselves in any manner. Unfortunately, as seen in the source article, the app is also appealing to those who share child pornography or engage in other criminal activity.

In this case, the former girlfriend of the accused did exactly the right thing. Upon finding the sexual pictures of children, she immediately notified law enforcement.

Child pornography is a federal crime and is considered a form of child sexual abuse. According to federal law, child pornography is “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 18 years old). Images of child pornography are also referred to as child sexual abuse images. Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, importation, reception, or possession of any image of child pornography.”

If you are a mandatory reporter in your state (ex. health care professionals; school officials and teachers; those who work with children), then you must report any child pornography you come across under your duty to report child sexual abuse.

Even if you are not a mandatory reporter, you should report this crime, as well, for the protection of children.

To whom should you report child pornography to?

  • Call your local FBI field office or Legal Attaché Office (for U.S. citizens overseas).
  • Call your local police.
  • Call your local government child protection agency.
  • Contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678)).
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