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West Palm Beach Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal Defense > Disney Workers Among Those Charged in Child Porn Probe

Disney Workers Among Those Charged in Child Porn Probe

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Seventeen men including two Disney workers and one former middle school principal have been arrested and are facing charges for possessing child pornography, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

The probe, which was called Guardians of Innocence IV: The Fall Haul, sounds more like a cheesy fantasy novel than a law enforcement probe. The sheriff’s department maintains that undercover officers and a forensic computer team assisted in the capture of these men.

As a defense attorney, we are naturally suspicious of these highly publicized stings, especially in light of recent attempts to entrap young men on dating apps with officers posing as underage girls. One of the suspects is accused of arranging a meetup with a 13-year-old girl over Facebook messenger.

Let’s take a look at their case.

Tips Came From National Center of Missing or Exploited Children

According to police, they received tips from the National Center of Missing or Exploited Children, an advocacy group that helps parents reunite with their missing children and stops the exploitation of children. Police will keep what information they gleaned and their methods of collecting that information a secret until trials are set or plea bargains are arranged. If they were acting on tips, as they claim, then the arrests should result in convictions.

One of the men caught by police was a former middle school principal, 76-year-old William Hage. When police burst into Hage’s home, they found him in a pedophile chat room discussing how to have sex with children. Police say that Hage and the Disney employee, Brett Kinney both confessed to charges of possession of child pornography. Hage is 18 years retired as a Polk County educator and was charged with 252 counts of child pornography.

Understanding Child Pornography Charges

Florida Statute 827.071 defines child pornography possession as the possession of any photograph, motion picture, exhibition, show, video, or representation, that includes any sexual conduct by a child. “Sexual conduct” refers to actual or simulated sexual intercourse, masturbation, sadomasochistic abuse, lewd exhibition of the genitalia, or physical contact with the genitals with the intent of causing sexual arousal. Possession of child pornography is both a federal and a state crime. In Florida, possession of child pornography is considered a felony.

As well, possession of child pornography can be charged for each individual lewd image depicted. Each count is punishable by up to five years in prison and run consecutively (as opposed to concurrently) meaning that someone with 200 indecent images on their laptop can face 1000 years in prison.

Those who are caught with multiple images may face a more serious charge of promoting child pornography, which is a second-degree felony.

If caught with child pornography on your laptop, the prosecution must show that you knew or should have known that the individual was underage and that you knew that the image was on your laptop.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’ve been charged with a serious crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. have the skills and experience you need to handle your case effectively. Talk to us today for more information.

Resources:

usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/09/florida-arrests-disney-workers-principal-child-porn-investigation/2543824001/

floridapolitics.com/archives/307256-sarasota-deputies-have-track-record-of-crossing-line-on-undercover-stings

/big-bag-of-cocaine-flies-into-motorists-car/

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