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Former army sergeant sentenced on child pornography charges

August 06, 2010

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Child pornography is a criminal offense that state and federal prosecutors take very seriously. At both the state and federal levels, prosecutors' offices have established specialized units that deal with child pornography and child sex abuse. The severity of the charge of transporting child pornography was evident in the case of a former army sergeant who was sentenced last week to 186 months or 15 years in prison. Mark Anthony Garcia was charged with transporting and sharing videos and images of child pornography through the internet. Child pornography is one of the most common and serious internet offenses. Anyone charged with any type of child sex abuse case should contact a Miami criminal lawyer with experience in defending these cases as a conviction carries serious consequences.

Garcia's arrest was the result of an investigation conducted by an undercover detective from the Boynton Beach Police Department attached to the South Florida Internet Crimes against Children Task Force. The detective conducted an undercover sting operation and received an invitation to receive child pornography from the defendant. The defendant offered to transfer images and videos containing child porn to the detective. The detective downloaded the information to his computer. Army investigators called CID investigators in Germany also assisted with the investigation by arresting the army sergeant. The CID agents were able to obtain a confession whereby Garcia admitted to transporting child pornography via the internet.

But for his statement, law enforcement would have had a difficult time proving the charges against Garcia. Without his confession, the criminal attorney representing Garcia could have alleged that another individual used his computer to download and transmit the information. Under military law, service members have many of the same rights as civilians. Military law enforcement have to advise service members of their Article 31 rights which include the right to remain silent and the right to counsel. Apparently, the military declined to prosecute the case and administratively discharged Garcia. Many times, the military will decline to prosecute, if local, state or federal government agencies elect to conduct the prosecution.

Under Florida law, child pornography is defined as any image depicting a minor involved in sexual conduct. The offense applies to anyone that knowingly sells, lends, gives away, distributes, shows, or transmits images, videos, books magazines or any other form of communication that contains child pornography. The crime is a third degree felony punishable up to five years in prison. Keep in mind that each image transported is a separate offense. For example, if an individual sends five images of child pornography via the internet, a defendant will be facing up to 25 years in prison.

Former U.S. Army Sergeant Sentenced over 15 Years for Transporting Child Pornography, Wire, July 29, 2010.
Categories: Military Law
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