Interviewer: Do you think it’s pretty obvious what someone’s doing if they’re going to be indicted for it?
Tom Chaves: I think it’s fair to say that someone who is going to be prosecuted for a possession of child pornography is someone who has been identified as someone who clearly is involved on an active intentional basis of doing that type of illegal activity.
A Child Pornography Case May Be Considered As Either a Federal or a State Crime
Interviewer: Are these federal crimes or state crimes?
Tom Chaves: They can be either. There are certain laws, federal laws that apply to this and there’s also state laws. In general, most of the prosecutions in the area are done by the state authorities and not the federal authorities.
Videotaping a Minor Engaged in Sexual Activity May Result in Federal Prosecution
Recently a case in New Jersey inovlved a retired police officer, he was, I believe, a captain in the police department and it was near my office in Somerville, New Jersey where it was found that he had set up a lot of video type equipment and he was videotaping his stepdaughter performing different sexual acts in front of the camera. So, that was a situation where I believe he was prosecuted under the federal child pornography type laws.
Cases Involving Manufacturing of Child Pornography Are Almost Non-Existent
Interviewer: Do you ever deal with case where people are manufacturing the porn or is that something …
Tom Chaves: I’ve never dealt with that. That one example that I just gave of local police captain, the retired police captain, I mean that’s a very unusual case where he was videotaping his stepdaughter, and I don’t even recall what he was supposedly doing with it but somehow somebody’s learned about it and he was arrested and prosecuted. Most child pornography is videotaped and produced in either Russia or Eastern Europe and comes to the United States, the world in general through the internet.
Police Officers Generally Enact Sting Operations on the Internet Luring Sexual Predators by Posing as Minors
Interviewer: I don’t know if it’s common in New Jersey but do police set up stings where they try to get someone they try to capture a sex offender by posing as a minor?
Tom Chaves: Yes, it does happen. Different prosecutor’s offices and some police departments will have certain people in a sex crimes unit whose focus is to try to find people who are seeking to have sexual relations with underage people, and they have various mechanisms for trying to find them through internet chat rooms.