Federal child pornography offenses carry long jail terms even when an offender has no previous convictions. In 2017, a 39-year-old Burleson man learned he was facing up to 40 years in federal prison after being convicted over obscene photographs.
Daryl Glenn Pawlak was accused by federal prosecutors of viewing child pornography on a website that was run temporarily by the U.S. government, reported the Star-Telegram.
Government agents said that Pawlak spent over 14 hours accessing child pornography on his computer. He accessed an illegal, members-only site on the dark net called Playpen.
The federal government subjected Playpen to a sting operation after the FBI discovered Playpen was being run within the United States.
The feds seized the server of the website over the course of the two-week operation and Playpen. Pawlak was caught during that time after agents deployed software that could show users and track images of underage girls in compromising sexual situations. The feds said Pawlak and others were accessing these images.
The sting operation proved to be controversial. Lawyers for the defendants argued the federal sting operation that was meant to protect children endangered them because they were treated like bait.
Objections from the defense team made in Pawlak’s case were either blocked or overturned by the federal court.
Earlier in 2017, the FBI reported it sentenced the creator and main administrator of Playpen, a site believed to be the world’s largest child pornography website, to 30 years in prison.
Prosecutors said more than 150,000 people were accessing the site. They accused Steven W. Chase, a 58-year-old man, of Naples in Florida, of setting up the site in 2014.
The feds said users of the site were able to communicate anonymously through so-called “hidden service” websites. Chase ran Playpen where members uploaded and viewed images of thousands of young sex abuse victims.
Texas has been the target of numerous child pornography stings. Typically, they involved many local and federal agencies and involve heavy sentences. The Medlin Law Firm represents defendants in these complex cases. Call us if you have been charged with a crime related to child pornography or a related matter today.