A New York man, who allegedly took pictures of a naked toddler on his cellphone, is standing trial for child pornography.
Police arrested Steve Masiello, 29, last week after they found nude photos of a young family member on his phone.
Federal law defines child pornography as any visual representation, including photos, videos, computer or computer-generated image or picture of a person under the age of 18. In New York, state penal statutes define child pornography as taking or possessing images, photos or videos of a child performing a sexual performance, or any action that includes actual or simulated sexual conduct by a child under 16 years old.
Masiello said he thought he got rid of the photos on his phone before his arrest.
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“I guess deleted isn’t deleted,” Masiello said.
Offenses linked to child pornography, like the distribution, transportation, importation, receipt and possession of images, are prohibited by federal law and can lead to mandatory minimum sentences.
According to Thorn, a task force aimed to stop the distribution and possession of child pornography, the number of child pornography cases prosecuted in the U.S. has grown exponentially over the last decades.
In 2006, U.S. lawyers handled 82.8 percent more child pornography cases compared to 1994.
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Defense attorney Michael Farkas said he thinks the prosecution cannot provide context to the charges against his client.
“There are a lot of unanswered questions,” Farkas said.
The maximum federal penalty for a person with a first offense possession of child pornography conviction is 10 years in prison per image, according to the Families Against Mandatory Minimums. New York offenders may receive a maximum prison sentence of three to four years, according to the New York Penal Code.
Masiello was released after posting $100,000 bond.