Matthew John Andaluz, 44, of Battle Creek was sent to prison in September 2017 to serve a 30-year term, followed by 10 years of supervised release.
Andaluz created a series of child pornography which he shared on the internet. This, eventually, was what cost him most of the rest of his life.
According to an article published by MLive Media Group, “Homeland Security Investigations had received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that federal agents had submitted a series of child-pornography images, seized from a registered sex offender in Tacoma, Wash., to check against a child-recognition system.”
Project Safe Childhood
Project Safe Childhood is a national initiative which was formed in hopes of protecting children from online exploitation and abuse. It is a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, county prosecutors, the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, and federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The goal of the initiative is to find, apprehend and prosecute those who exploit children.
According to the Department of Justice:
“Since the launch of Project Safe Childhood in 2006, the number of cases and defendants prosecuted by United States Attorney’s Offices has increased by 40%, with 2315 indictments against 2427 defendants filed in Fiscal Year 2009.”
PSC prosecutions by United States Attorneys’ Offices have increased each year since the launch of the initiative.
Congress passed the Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act of 2008 (the “PROTECT Our Children Act”). As mandated by the Act, in February 2010, the Department, working with the National Drug Intelligence Center, completed a yearlong and first of its kind threat assessment of the magnitude of child exploitation.
The result of this assessment reports a disturbing trend showing increases. In some instances significant increases in all types of child sexual exploitation, including:
- Child pornography;
- Online enticement of children for sexual purposes;
- Commercial sexual exploitation of children; and
- Child sex tourism.
In Andaluz’s case, he was caught because the initiative compelled law enforcement to follow up with the images that were found across the country.
The acting U.S. Attorney asked for a 30-year sentence. “A 30-year sentence is needed to reflect the gravity and seriousness of the defendant’s crimes, to promote respect for the law, and to justly punish the defendant.”
Child Pornography Laws in Michigan
As you may have already guessed, child pornography isn’t protected under first amendment rights. Additionally, it is seen by our justice system as a form of child abuse.
Under Michigan Penal Code §750.145c(4), Michigan Penal Code §750.145c(3), and Michigan Penal Code §750.145c(2), it is illegal to possess, distribute or produce child sexually abusive material.
This means, any film, photograph, negative, slide, magazine, or other visual medium depiction, electronic visual image, computer or computer-generated image or sound recording which is of a child (under age 18) or appears to include a child engaging in a sexual act.
Penalties for possession, distribution or production are as follows:
- Possession: felony, up to 4 years in prison, $10,000 fine, asset forfeiture, possible restitution
- Distribution: felony, up to 7 years in prison, $50,000 fine, asset forfeiture, possible restitution
- Production: felony, up to 20 years in prison, $100,000 fine, asset forfeiture, possible restitution
In addition, there are certain professions which are mandatory reporters of any child pornography they find: Computer technicians, information technology workers, and film developers. These professionals are not required to seek out illegal activity, merely to report it if they find it. They are protected under confidentiality and civil liability laws from being sued by the defendant should their report result in an arrest.
It is likely, given the statistics we have just seen, that more people will be prosecuted for possession, distribution or production of child pornography in this country. It’s very likely that if you are facing charges related to child pornography, your prosecutor will seek the maximum sentence.
It’s critical for your future that you seek experienced defense immediately.