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Archive for Friday, July 14, 2006

Salina resident argues that looking at child pornography is not illegal

July 14, 2006

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— A Salina man who has admitted that he saw child pornography pictures on his computer is arguing that he is not guilty of a crime because he did not try to save the images on his computer's hard drive.

A Saline County judge has taken the rare, but not unprecedented, case under advisement and will decide whether Cory McQuillan, 28, should stand trial on 66 counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

An attorney for McQuillan argued during a hearing Wednesday that a computer forensic expert found only thumbnail-sized pictures that McQuillan's computer automatically recorded from Web sites he visited. Attorney Christina Trocheck argued that the images were not downloaded, and thus not possessed by her client.

But Assistant Saline County Atty. Jon Whitton countered that possession wasn't an issue because McQuillan told a police investigator that he had created files to save some images. Evidence indicates those files were deleted by someone else before authorities seized the computer in March, Whitton said.

Saline County District Judge Dan Boyer did not give a deadline for when he might issue an opinion.

McQuillan is accused of 66 counts of sexual exploitation of a child because 66 of the 5,000 pornographic images found on his computer were of girls ranging in age from 7 to 14. The other images were of adults.

Authorities seized the computer after McQuillan's wife reported that she suspected there was child pornography on a computer she shared with her husband.

The thumbnail-size photos remained in the Web browser's cache, which stores temporary Internet files. They were found by investigators at the FBI's Regional Computer Forensics Laboratory in Kansas City, Mo.

McQuillan's case is similar to two cases decided in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, in which both defendants claimed only to be viewing images. However, both were found guilty.

Comments

average 8 years, 5 months ago

I dunno. I've seen enough:

  • Computers infected with crap that pops up random sites

  • Links to websites that I don't know for certain don't have one bad pic.

  • Misspelled/Google-bombed sites filled with pics I don't know about.

  • web sites I go to regularly that allow inline picture linking

  • web sites I go to regularly that have been hacked

  • etc.

that it's damn dangerous out there. One might logically assume that they won't get into trouble looking at pictures posted for free (i.e., because it's dangerous for the sender, it won't be sent to you without renumeration to make it worth the risk). Well, what about some 15-year-old exhibitionist, who is entirely capable of taking his/her own pictures, posting them, and trying to get people to look at them under false pretense? Is the 15 year old guilty of distributing child porn? If someone hacked, say, ljworld.com, and put up one kiddie-pic (a little thumbnail... would you notice), are a quarter of Lawrence residents at risk of going to jail?

In this case, I'm trying to figure out the "deleted images" thing. Hell, I've got some empty folders that used to have pictures in them. (not porn at all, but who could tell?).

Hang em if they make child porn, yes! If they knowingly sell or distribute... yes... but it should be difficult to prove 'knowingly'. If they intentionally have ever had such an image pass their computer... maybe... but it's gotta be a very strict definition of intent.

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