Wicomico CO. Prosecutor Looks To Strengthen Penalty For Poss. Of - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wicomico CO. Prosecutor Looks To Strengthen Penalty For Poss. Of Child Porn

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WICOMICO CO., Md. - A plan for new legislation could crack down on child pornography in the state of Maryland. If backed with enough support, could be reviewed in the next General Assembly.

In light of Child Abuse Awareness Month, now is the time to implement a bill that could do exactly that. A recent case taken on by the Wicomico County State's Attorney's office, has prompted this call for action on offenders who harbor pictures of innocent children for mere pleasure.

"You can't stop the image once it's gone viral it's out there," said Wicomico County Assistant State's Attorney Pam Correa.

Viewing, collecting even distributing pornographic pictures of children are indeed illegal, but under Maryland law, not enough for a felony conviction rather a misdemeanor.

"Because it's viewed as a victimless crime, the judges are in a position where they don't have a good reason to give a lot of bail or high bond amount,"said Correa.

This issue comes to light after 18-year-old Akshay Rajashekar was arrested and charged federally for reportedly trying to set up a sexual encounter with a 12-year-old girl. Rajashekar was out on bail, at the time, charged with possession of child porn. Correa calls his believed behavior a clear escalation.

"It is a gateway. It's one of those stepping stones where they will escalate," she said.

Correa now looks to strengthen the penalty to a felony. Maryland Delegate Rudy Cane is throwing his support behind it.

"Usually it's very difficult to get a job if you have a felony record because no one will want you involved in their company. So I think that would be a real deterrent," he said.

Prosecutors say a felony charge for possession would also be reviewed at a court of higher jurisdiction.

Most job applications ask if a person has ever been convicted of a felony, and does not mention a misdemeanor. Officials say that shows the lack of severity attached to a charge like that. Not to mention, a felon cannot vote either. This is a key issue the Maryland delegation looks to consider.

Of course, WMDT will continue to follow the progress of this plan, and update you when new information becomes available.

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