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Woman sentenced in pornography case involving her own child

A federal district court judge expressed his dismay with the defendant before him when he said "I can't ignore the overwhelmingly dispicable violation of trust that occurred here" as he sentenced a woman convicted in a child pornography scheme to a 25 year sentence. The woman was initially accused of taking explicit pictures of her own seven-year-old daughter and sending them to an accomplice in New Jersey that were eventually viewed around the world.

According to the report produced by the Philadelphia Inquirer, it was not the crime itself that shocked the judge, it was the fact that a parent would subject her child to such dangers and loss of innocence. Also, a woman being charged with such a crime is unusual. Of the 231 people charged with federal crimes in 2011, only 13 were female.

Homeland Security agents were first alerted to the crime after Austrailian authorities arrested a man with images of the girl on his phone. The pictures were traced to the woman's New Jersey boyfriend, and then to the woman herself. The boyfriend, later identified as Patrick Mergen, was also sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. Prosecutors had originally sought 20-24 year prison terms for the couple. 

Sex crimes, particularly child pornography, are seen as the most heinous crimes in our society. Because of this, they are inherently treated differently than others (i.e. robbery, drug trafficking). In these instances, the presence of an experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary to ensure that the process is fairly administrated even in light of the thoughts and opinions about the accused. 

Source: Philly.com, 25-year sentence in child pornography case involving daughter, August 22, 2013

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