Why Arizona is Tough on Child Pornography

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Dangerous Crimes Against ChildrenArizona has some of the most severe penalties in the nation for individuals who possess images of child pornography.

Arizona classifies this and other unique offenses as “Dangerous Crimes Against Children” because they involve the most vulnerable members of our society.  Child pornography involves actual children who are very often kidnapped, physically harmed and sexually abused to create this material.  Those of us who have had the unfortunate task of viewing these images know that often they show children as young as three years old with facial expressions of sadness, confusion, and/or excruciating pain.

The penalties for child pornography are severe because these crimes carry lifelong consequences for the children used to create this material.  In a circulated photo or video the abuse is memorialized and can be irretrievably spread throughout the world via the Internet and repeatedly copied, all in the name of “entertainment” and “enjoyment” by consumers of this repulsive practice.  Once these images proliferate, they are impossible to fully eradicate.

All too often, those who obtain this material engage in much more than sick fantasies, as evidenced by a Federal Bureau of Prisons study showing that 76% of those arrested for child pornography had indeed molested a child.

Unlike other crime victims, child pornography victims have no voice to influence a Judge in a criminal proceeding.  Instead they are reduced to images on a screen.  Thus, a critical aspect of Arizona’s sentencing system - hearing from the actual victim - is never used in these cases.

As prosecutors we seek the administration of justice and public safety.  Never is this role more poignant than in cases involving defenseless children and that is reflected in how Arizona law metes out punishment for these despicable crimes.

Daisy Flores has served as the Gila County Attorney since 2002 and is the Vice-Chairman of the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys’ Advisory Council.