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Man arrested after allegedly transmitting child pornography

Child pornography-related charges can carry especially stiff penalties in South Carolina. One South Carolina man faces nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Each count, all of which are third degree felonies, may result in a ten year sentence.

Police arrested the 37-year-old for distributing child pornography. Both the Berkley County Sheriff's Office and the Horry County Sheriff's Office were involved in the investigation. The Horry County Sherriff's Office is a member of the Attorney General's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. (The ICAC cooperates with federal and state law enforcement agencies to enhance sex crime investigation techniques and to provide victim services.)

Authorities searched the suspect's house and seized several computers and cell phones. Other unspecified electronic equipment was also confiscated.

The officers in this case had a warrant. Generally, police require a warrant before being able to search a person's home. Warrants must describe what the officers are looking for and where they can look for it. If law enforcement does not have a warrant or exceeds the warrant's authorization (by searching part of the house the warrant does not include, for example), then the government cannot use evidence collected from the illegal search to convict the suspect.

Prior to obtaining the warrant, undercover police officers say that they used peer-to-peer software to download a number of illegal files from an IP address matching the suspect's residence.

Peer-to-peer software programs, which have names like "BitTorrent" and "Kazaa," allow people to trade all kinds of files over the internet. Many peer-to-peer software programs have come under fire because they allow people to illegally transmit copyrighted material.

There is no word on why authorities are only pursuing nine counts at this time, as the suspect allegedly had a large volume of contraband materials. More charges, however, may still be brought since the government aggressively prosecutes child pornography possession cases.

Source: scnow.com, "Deputies arrest Loris man in child pornography case," Dec. 18, 2012

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