MAN ACCUSED OF POSSESSING CHILD PORN FROM INTERNET
May 18, 1995
Pedophiles use "Family Nudity" as a catch phrase to indicate their interest in child pornography.
COMPUTERS: It is the first such charge in L.A. City attorney calls obscene material in cyberspace growing problem.
by Julio Moran
L.A. Times Times Staff Writer
Citing it as an example of the dark side of cyberspace, the Los Angeles city attorney's office Wednesday filed its first criminal complaint alleging the downloading of child pornography to a home computer from Interment bulletin boards.
David Luera, 41, of Sun Valley was charged with one count of possessing child pornography, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in County Jail and a $1,000 fine. If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender.
Luera, a married salesman with no children, is free pending his arraignment June 22 in Los Angeles Municipal Court. Neither Luera nor his attorney Thomas Russell, could be reached for comment.
City Atty. Jim Hahn said in a prepared statement that the proliferation of child pornography and other obscene matter available through the Internet is "becoming an increasing problem, since anyone-including children-with access to a home computer can obtain it."
"The information superhighway has opened up the world's knowledge and the ability to freely communicate to anyone with a computer." Hahn said, "Unfortunately, it also is giving pedophiles the ability to freely communicate and exchange child pornography."
Deputy City Atty. Deborah Sanchez said Luera was identified in February during an unrelated investigation by the LAPD's Sexually Exploited Child Unit as someone with a suspected interest in child pornography.
Police detectives said Luera had placed an ad in a magazine called Loving Alternatives seeking an "open relationship" with one or two couples interested in, among other things, "family nudity." Police said "family nudity" is a code phrase frequently used by individuals to signal their interest in child pornography.
Posing as a pedophile, Police Detective William Dworin responded to the ad and began to communicate by mail and later by telephone with Luera, who allegedly acknowledged his sexual interest in children. He allegedly told Dworin that he downloaded child pornographic photographs to his home computer from Internet bulletin boards.
With a warrant, police searched Luera's home on March 16 and seized his computer, disks and several letters. After examining the computer's hard disk, police said, they found 36 electronic photographs that depicted child pornography and 45 depicted child erotica. Sanchez said the pornographic photographs were of boys under 14 involved in sexual activities such as masturbation and oral copulation.
Sanchez said the city attorney's office has no similar cases under review, but officials expect to file more because of the ever-changing world of technology.
Although first time offenses are prosecuted as misdemeanors, people convicted of possessing child pornography face felony charges and a possible state prison sentence if they are charged with possessing such material a second time.
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