Steps That You Should Take After Inadvertent Exposure to Child Pornography
Many people enjoy occasionally or frequently browsing adult content online — a pastime that you might not talk about but that is perfectly legal. However, in your pursuit of adult content, it's possible that you could occasionally come across child pornography. Whether you've seen this content on an adult message board, clicked on a link that redirects you to a site that you didn't wish to visit, or you downloaded something by mistake, you'll understandably feel anxious because you've just viewed content that is against the law. Instead of hoping that nothing comes of it, here are some steps that you should take — steps that will be pivotal in your defense if you are charged.
Report the Content
There are many resources on the internet that you can use to report child pornography. You can simply search for such sites and follow the instructions to complete the reporting process. For example, you might be asked to post a link and write a sentence or two about how you inadvertently came across the information. After you're done reporting the content, take a screen capture of your report and save it. This will be valuable in supporting your defense in case the police obtain your IP address during a child pornography investigation and lay charges against you.
Avoid Similar Habits
Think about what type of behavior led you to stumble across the objectionable content and make sure that you avoid this type of behavior in the future. For example, if you downloaded child pornography because you were downloading torrent files that weren't clearly labeled, you should not do so in the future. When police are investigating those who view child pornography, they're specifically looking for offenders who do so repeatedly. The more you mistakenly access this type of content, the more that it may appear you're doing so on purpose.
Contact an Attorney
While many people contact attorneys after they've been charged, there's no harm in being proactive in this situation. Find a criminal law attorney in your area who focuses on sex crimes and set up a consultation. Explain what you've done accidentally and get the attorney's insight on what might transpire because of your mistake. This meeting can be effective in alleviating your concerns. For example, an attorney who is well versed in this part of the law may tell you that charges against people in your situation are rare as investigators tend to focus more on those who produce and share child pornography versus those who appear to have mistakenly stumbled onto it.