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Florida Man Sentenced For World’s Largest Child Porn Website

Naples, Florida resident, Steven Chase, has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for running what the FBI called the “world’s largest child pornography website.” The sentence comes after Chase’s February 2015 arrest when the FBI determined found him to be the creator of the Tor network website “Playpen” with over 150,000 members. An FBI search of Chase’s home found thousands of images of sexual exploitation of young children. Since Chase’s arrest, a federal court gave the FBI permission to control the website in order to track down other members who are illegally using the website. Since the FBI has controlled the website, 350 individuals have been arrested and 55 children have been rescued, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The FBI operation, known as “Operation Pacifier,” has drawn a large amount of criticism as critics point out that the operation’s length allowed for more children to be abused. This is due to the fact that the FBI left the website up and operating normally for two weeks while they monitored the site to catch users. Groups have claimed that the operation was an overstep from the original search warrant, and many attorneys have stepped forward to say that the information obtained from the FBI’s operation of the website should be suppressed.

At this point there have not been any rulings as to the legality of the evidence obtained by the FBI. However, the FBI has responded by noting just how vulnerable the victims of these crimes are, thus, justifying their actions in attempts to apprehend and prosecute members of the website. While this statement may have been true, it does not mean that the FBI’s actions are justified. Ultimately, an overstep in the law is illegal regardless of the matter it pertains to and should be dealt with accordingly.

What To Do If You Have Been Charged

Similar to the individuals arrested in relation to the Playpen website, it is common for individuals arrested in relation to child pornography charges to be overcome by shame and fear. The public knowledge of the alleged actions coupled with the uncertainty of your future freedom can be extremely overwhelming. Fortunately, at the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit, we have experience with these types of charges and provide our clients with confidential and aggressive representation.

Typically during a child pornography investigation law enforcement will engage in an extensive investigation before arresting a suspect. During the investigation, it is likely that they will issue a search warrant for your home and property to scan anything they believe contains child pornography. When word spreads of an impending investigation into alleged possession of child pornography the suspect’s world can quickly come crashing down. Guilty or not, you may quickly find that your professional and social lives may drastically change. The penalties associated with these crimes are extraordinarily strict. Thus, During this time it is critical that you reach out to an experienced criminal defense attorney. Your attorney’s knowledge and experience will prove to be invaluable as they formulate a plan for your defense. For additional information, call the Law Offices of Gilbert A. Schaffnit in Florida at 352-378-6593 to for a free initial phone consultation.

Resource:

newsweek.com/child-pornography-fbi-investigation-operation-pacifier-sentence-593223

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