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What To Do If You Happen To See Child Pornography

A federal judge imposed a term of 270 months in federal prison on Rebecca Owens of Pitcairn, Pennsylvania, for producing child pornography images and sexually exploiting a minor. She pled guilty in 2020, and will be on probation after prison for 20 years.

According to investigators of the case, in 2019, over the course of two days, Owens communicated with a man in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, on social media and discussed the sexual abuse of a three-year-old girl known to her.

In July 2019, Owens chatted with another man and offered the girl to him to be sexually abused. She also took sexually explicit images of the girl on her cellphone and sent them to him as part of their chat.

Authorities began investigating in November 2019 when a state trooper investigating a Monroe County man examined his email accounts and found images of the child.

Based on information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the trooper knew his target had been communicating with someone in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh authorities identified the person as Owens. They recovered images from her social media account that showed her with children and sent those pictures to the trooper.

He was able to identify one of the children as the same one seen in the porn images. When law enforcement searched Owens' house, they also found items that were seen in the pornographic images.

Owens admitted to police that she sent the man images of the girl that she had taken with her phone. The male suspect was prosecuted by state authorities in Monroe County. "Pitcairn woman gets 22 years in prison for producing child porn" https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2022/06/23/pitcairn-gets-22-years-in-prison-for-producing-child-porn-three-year-old-monroe-county-woman/stories/202206230127 (Jun. 23, 2022).

Commentary and Checklist

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), potential incidents of online child sexual exploitation increased by 35 percent in 2021 compared to 2020. The NCMEC CyberTipline received 29.3 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in 2021. Approximately 99 percent of the reports received by the CyberTipline in 2021 were incidents of suspected CSAM (Child Sex Abuse Material) - child pornography.

Child pornography is a federal crime and a type of child sexual abuse.

What should you do if you see child pornography on a device?

  • If you notice child pornography on someone else's phone or computer, preserve any evidence, if possible.
  • If you find it on the internet, note the name of the website, chat room, or newsgroup where you saw the suspected child pornography.
  • A report can be made online at the NCMEC CyberTipline or via the phone at 1-800-843-5678.
  • If you receive child pornography through unsolicited e-mail, note the sender's screen name and ISP (Internet Service Provider) and forward the entire message (do not copy and paste) to the FBI.
  • DO NOT download the child pornography yourself in order to help the FBI. You may not download such an image to your hard drive, disk, or printer without breaking the law.
  • Rely on law enforcement to conduct the investigation into the crime.
  • Assist authorities with their investigation, if requested.
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