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Sexual assault crimes are among the most serious offenses a person can commit. Sexual assault crimes involving minors are even more serious; many people argue that sexual assault against minors should be regarded as perhaps the most serious crime in our society, outside of murder. If we examine the effects of sexual assault, particularly those effects which manifest over a long-term period, we can see why this crime is so serious:
victims of sexual assault frequently report long-term problems relating to trust, anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and other aspects of mental health and wellness. This is especially the case when victims are minors.
When we take a look at the headlines across the country, we can see that sexual assault crimes are unfortunately quite common. A recent case from the Boston area stands out as one of the most severe cases involving sexual assault against minors, child pornography, and other related offenses. Let’s take a quick look at this case and then go over essential things readers should know about dealing with sexual assault allegations in Maine.
On September 1, 2022, Patrick Plummer pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes in a federal court located in Boston, MA. Mr. Plummer is a resident of the State of Maine, and traveled to Georgetown, MA for the purpose of engaging in illicit sex with an underage girl. In reality, the underage girl was actually an undercover police officer attempting to catch Mr. Plummer in a “sting” operation. After Mr. Plummer was caught by the undercover officer, police discovered thousands of images and videos of child pornography on his mobile devices and computer. Furthermore, Mr. Plummer himself admitted to various criminal acts after he was apprehended by police. Specifically, he admitted to talking to over ten minor girls, that he was in possession of a large quantity of child pornography, and that he had indeed traveled all the way from Maine to engage in sex with the person whom he believed was 13 years old.
U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins has been particularly vocal about condemning Mr. Plummer’s behavior and insisting that more be done to prevent these types of crime in the future. Ms. Rollins’ attitude was echoed by Joseph Bonavolonta, Special Agent of the FBI in charge of the Boston area division. Not only did Mr. Plummer confess to possessing thousands of pieces of child pornography, he also admitted to disseminating illicit material via applications on his mobile device. Mr. Bonavolonta, just like Ms. Rollins, condemned Mr. Plummer’s actions in the harshest possible terms and emphasized the need for prevention. Given all the charges, Mr. Plummer could face up to life in prison.
The State of Maine takes sexual assault crimes just as seriously as any other jurisdiction in the U.S. Maine has its own laws pertaining to sex crimes against minors (i.e. sexual exploitation, child pornography, statutory rape, etc.), and sex crimes against other adults (i.e. gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact, etc.). If you’ve been charged with any type of sexual crime in Maine, you need to obtain the services of a qualified defense attorney immediately. The reason is because these charges can lead to sentences of a very long duration. And, sexual crimes carry other potential consequences, such as the requirement of registering as a sex offender.
The case of Mr. Plummer is notable for several reasons. One reason is because of the fact that Mr. Plummer committed multiple types of sex crimes. One crime he committed is “sexual exploitation of a child.” Child sexual exploitation basically occurs when a person deliberately attempts to lure an underage person into engaging in sex acts. Importantly, the enticement element refers to the deliberate attempt to lure a minor, not the result of the attempt; in other words, a person will be guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor even if they don’t end up engaging in sex acts with the minor. This is just what happened in the case of Mr. Plummer. Mr. Plummer also possessed, and disseminated, child pornography; both of those things are separate crimes under Maine law.
Under Maine law, a person can be charged and convicted of a crime merely for possessing child pornography, regardless of whether that person created the material, or disseminated the material to others. If a person knowingly or intentionally acquires any pornographic material depicting a minor, that person can be charged with a crime. The crime of possession of child pornography is a Class C offense in the state of Maine. Likewise, if a person intentionally distributes pornographic material depicting a minor, that person can be charged with a crime. Even for a first offense, the crime of dissemination of child pornography is treated as a Class B crime in Maine. This means that this offense is treated quite harshly in the State of Maine.
As mentioned, a person convicted of a sexual assault against a minor will be required to register as a sex offender in Maine. This essentially means that the convicted person will need to regularly provide certain personal information to the sex offender registry. This allows communities to be on alert, which maximizes safety, and helps to prevent future offenses. Readers should know that having to register as a sex offender can have all sorts of unpleasant ramifications, including career stagnation. Perhaps more than any other type of crime, sexual assault against minors comes with very harsh long-term consequences.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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