Mankato child pornography charges raise questions

By now, most people in Minneapolis have heard about the football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the criminal charges he is facing. The father of three children, he has been charged with two counts of felony child pornography after an information technology employee at his school reported three videos to police. The videos, say the coach and his wife, are of their three children and are completely innocent.

The coach’s wife has said that the videos were merely their children acting like children, and that is what many people who have been following this story have said, too. Some parents have questioned whether these videos really should be classified as child pornography or if it is merely a matter of poor parental judgment. A criminal defense attorney who has reviewed the case has said that, though the videos may be “distasteful,” it does not mean they meet the definition of child pornography.

The coach’s attorney has argued that the videos are neither exploitative, sexual nor graphic and, thus, are not pornographic. Because the laws surrounding child pornography in Minnesota are open to considerable interpretation, it remains to be seen whether there is sufficient evidence for the case to get to trial or result in conviction.

This kind of ambiguity, especially surrounding pictures and videos of one’s own children, illustrate just how important it can be for anyone charged with child pornography to work with a strong and experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help to ensure that the law is enforced as intended and that a suspect is not convicted because of an obscure or innovative reading of a law.

Source: Star Tribune, “Mankato coach’s child-porn case tests definition of criminal,” Richard Meryhew, Aug. 30, 2012

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He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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