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South Carolina man barred from Internet after sex crime charge

The South Carolina attorney general recently reported that authorities have arrested a South Carolina man on a single count of sexual exploitation of a minor. The sex crime charge arises out of a file on a computer that the man had pawned. Employees of the pawn shop were erasing the hard drive in order to resale the computer and found a file that appeared to contain child porn.

The pawn shop employees called the local police, who looked in the file and found what they allege was child pornography. However, the details of the actual nature of the contents have not been released. Authorities claim the original owner admitted to downloading the file.

Police have seized several computers and electronic media devices belonging to the man. If convicted, the man could face up to 10 years in jail. Also, he was given a $25,000 surety bond and is prohibited from being around individuals who are under 18 years of age. He has also been instructed not to use the Internet.

Many have criticized the practice of banning sex offenders and other criminals from using the Internet. It's especially unfair when modern society is so dependent on the World Wide Web. One court even determined that barring Internet access possibly violates free speech rights.

Others, though, still push for varying degrees of restrictions on Internet access for sex offenders. One state representative, for example, has proposed barring registered offenders from accessing social media sites, such as Facebook. However, prohibiting a person who has yet to be convicted of a crime from accessing the Internet, as was the case here, could be seen as extreme. Therefore, in some cases, even allegations of possession of child pornography can carry consequences to a person's livelihood and reputation. Due to the seriousness of these crimes, a defendant should be prepared to mount a strong defense.

Source: Scag.gov, "Mount Pleasant Man Arrested On Child Pornography Charge," Jan. 14, 2013

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