Acting on a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Oklahoma Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force arrested a Chickasha man on complaints of possession of child pornography.
Investigators arrested Larry Francis Thompson, 59, and obtained a search warrant to search the suspect’s online storage, cell phone, and laptop. They allegedly discovered more than 3,000 images of child pornography.
Thompson, a registered sex offender, was booked into the Grady County Jail on complaints of possession of obscene materials, aggravated possession of child pornography, and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.
Possession of child pornography, a Level 1 sex offense, is punishable by a maximum of 20 years in prison, and anyone convicted must register as a sex offender for 15 years. However, a second or subsequent sex crime conviction bumps a person to risk Level 3, which requires lifetime sex offender registration.
While possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, aggravated possession of child pornography brings much steeper consequences:
“Any person who, with knowledge of its contents, possesses one hundred (100) or more separate materials depicting child pornography shall be, upon conviction, guilty of aggravated possession of child pornography. The violator shall be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term not exceeding life imprisonment and by a fine in an amount not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00). The violator, upon conviction, shall be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offenders Registration Act.” (21 O.S. 1040.12a)
Violating the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act is a separate felony charge that can be applied to any offense which uses computer technology to facilitate breaking any state law. It is often charged in conjunction with internet sex crimes including online solicitation of minors and downloading child pornography. Using a computer system or network to violate any of the Oklahoma statutes is a felony punishable by five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000. These penalties are in addition to any levied for the underlying crime.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) works to recover missing children and to identify and rescue victims of child sexual exploitation. The organization analyzes images of child pornography to identify victims of sexual exploitation through its Child Victim Identification Program, and it has obtained more than 2.3 million reports of suspected child sexual abuse and exploitation through its CyberTipline.
Online activities can seem anonymous, but law enforcement agents, including ICAC task force agents, may be conducting undercover sting operations at any time. Groups such as the NCMEC are dedicated to preventing child exploitation and work diligently to identify and report suspected child sexual abuse. While technological advances have made it easier for some to access child pornography, those same advances allow law enforcement to track, identify, and prosecute those engaged in the sexual exploitation of children through downloading or distributing child pornography.