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Category Archives: Sex Crimes

An Overview of Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Laws

In Pennsylvania, state law protects all people equally when it comes to sexual assault and rape, regardless of the relationship between the alleged offender and the victim. For example, there are no exceptions for a rape that occurs within a marriage. Sexual assault occurs when a person forces someone else to engage in sexual acts… Read More »

Youth Pastor’s Affair with Teen Results in More Than 160 Charges

A 35-year-old youth pastor in New Paris, PA, whose seven-month-long affair with a 15-year-old student resulted in her becoming pregnant, now faces more than 160 charges of sexual assault. Wesley Blackburn, a married father of five and youth pastor at the Faith Brethren Bible Church, reportedly confessed the relationship to his wife and asked for… Read More »

What are the Penalties for Child Pornography?

Child pornography is defined as knowingly possessing, producing or distributing pornographic images of children. Anyone under age 18 is a child as defined by federal law. Child pornography is against both state and federal law and carries steep penalties along with irreparable damage to a person’s reputation, as these cases bring a tremendous amount of… Read More »

What are the Penalties for Sex Trafficking?

Human trafficking, which is the transportation of coerced people across or within international borders, is akin to modern day slavery. Sex trafficking is the recruitment and holding of people against their will for the purposes of prostitution. They are forced to perform sex work without pay. A sex trafficking crime involves the recruitment, harboring, transportation,… Read More »

Teens Engaged in ‘Sexting’ Face Serious Consequences

It’s no secret that teenagers are on their smartphones practically nonstop.  In recent years, the practice of exchanging racy images via text message — an activity known as “sexting” — has gained popularity, particularly among the teen demographic. Although this activity raises a number of social concerns, teens also unwittingly face serious legal consequences for… Read More »

Pennsylvania Considers Compensation for Prisoners Exonerated in Sex and Violent Crimes Cases

In August 2005, Thomas Doswell was released from prison after serving nearly 20 years for the rape of a 48-year-old woman at a Pittsburgh hospital. A DNA test on semen taken from the victim exonerated him after two decades behind bars. He was denied bail four times because he would not take responsibility for the… Read More »

Searching for the Truth in Date Rape Accusations

In March 2006, Crystal Gail Magnum, college student and stripper, accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a party. The players were ultimately exonerated, but not before the case created a media circus over issues of race, hate crimes, sexism and the power of the privileged. Many presumed the players were guilty,… Read More »

Pennsylvania Increases Penalties for Child Abuse and Child Porn

In reaction to the sensational Jerry Sandusky and Catholic clergy molestation scandals, the Pennsylvania Senate has approved one more bill in a broad response aimed at stiffening penalties for child pornography and abuse. In December 2013, the Senate approved a bill to increase the degree of child pornography crimes, up to as high as a… Read More »

Getting Your Name Off the Sex Offender Registry

The sex offender registry provides an invaluable public service, but sometimes a name on that list doesn’t belong there. If it’s yours, your life has been changed forever, for the worse. While sex offender registration is not a new concept, public access to sex offender databases is relatively new. In response to public outrage over… Read More »