Michael Skupin, 54, of Oakland County, Michigan was a contestant on CBS’s season 2 of the popular Survivor series. He is best known for falling into fire and having to be airlifted out. Today, he is behind bars after being charged with 6 counts of possession of child pornography, 5 counts of larceny, and 1 count of racketeering.
Skupin was running a business called, Pay it Forward. He promised his investors that he would turn $300 to $10,000. However, when those people who gave him money failed to see any return, they began to come forward, voicing their concerns.
That led authorities to begin investigating Skupin for racketeering. When they confiscated Skupin’s computer, they found child sexually abusive materials.
Skupin was not the only respected community members to find themselves in this situation. Many individuals have found themselves being invested for child pornography.
In the past, child pornography was easier for the government to control. The use of the Internet has opened up many possibilities. Child pornography offenders typically will use groups that allow for “peer-to-peer” file sharing programs. These programs allow for offenders to distribute, receive, and collect child pornographic images. In addition, these sites can allow for offers to normalize their behavior and become desensitize to what they are doing.
For many, having a part in child pornography was not their original intent. They might have started by being exposed through legal pornography online that is so easily accessible and found them self falling down a rabbit hole they never intended.
What is Child Pornography?
Child pornography is a form of sexual exploration. Federal law defines child pornography, “as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (persons less than 1 years old.” Another phrase used for images of child pornography is “sexual abuse image.”
When charged with possession of child pornography, it is a felony under the federal law in every state. The U.S. Congress is cracking down on child pornography crimes and they are creating long sentences for those individuals convicted.
For those individuals who have been convicted of receipt, distribution, possession with intent to distribute or sell, transport, or in production of child pornography have a mandatory minimum of a 5 year sentence. For those with previous sexual offenses the mandatory minimum can be 15 – 40 years.
While every case is different, it’s pretty easy for an investigation to find evidence of child pornography. Police are able to track an individual’s IP address to see what has been searched, and download. The individuals who have been convicted are those who had intent to view, receipt, distribute, and sell child pornography. The evidence found will typically prove the intent of an individual.
If you are being investigated or charged with child pornography, it is important that the first step you take is to seek out a defense attorney’s advice. It will be most important to find a person who specializes in child pornography cases. Each case is different, and even if you are guilty, there are ways to help your case. There is hope.
If you or a loved one of yours is addicted to child pornography and seeking help, please know there is help available for you. Child pornography addition is like any other and can be treated. For legal assistance, please call my office today.
248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000