Paul D. Cramm

Common Misconceptions About Child Pornography Charges

Interviewer: What would you say are some of the top misconceptions that people have?

Paul Cramm: I think that’s a very broad topic. I think that the fact of the matter, if you just talk to a forensic psychologist, the number of people in the community who would be drawn to or aroused by sexual imagery of true children – prepubescent children – statistically is an extremely small number of the general population.  Because the vast majority of us do not have any interest sexually in children, I think it’s easy to develop broad ranging misconceptions about what this is about, or what happens, or how these cases are discovered or filed.  For the majority of my clients, they discover these images inadvertently while perusing constitutionally protected, lawful adult material.  An image appears in a collection of search results that is shocking or alarming, and it prompts curiosity.  By the time the person has realized what they are seeing, they have already triggered the attention of the authorities and it traces back to their IP address.

It’s also an area that most people don’t want to inquire about, even if it’s based upon very innocent or scholastic curiosity. What’s this about? What causes this interest? What’s this trade about? What’s this industry about? Where do these sites thrive? Where most of the unlawful sites based? It’s just normal inquiry from genuine curiosity, but I think people are afraid to ask those kinds of questions because the subject matter is so taboo that even being appropriately curious for an appropriate reason is seen very negatively.

Interviewer: Do you think that same curiosity also might be one of the factors that contribute to people largely committing these crimes?

Paul Cramm: I think that can be absolutely true. A recently client of ours was under investigation. We got involved very early in the case before the charging decision have been made. I spent considerable time with this client. He was a very young client – in his very early 20s and in college. Based on my interaction with him, as well as completion of psychosexual evaluation, it was determined that he had absolutely no pedophilic tendencies whatsoever.

He was 21 years old and exposed to lawful sexual material on the Internet. Out of curiosity, he just clicked through to some of the wrong questionable images. I think it would be very clear to anyone who would meet him, talk with him, or spend time with him that this is not a person that we need to be afraid of. This is not a person who has any interest in pursuing or acting out any of these types of things. This is someone who just was at an age where he was genuinely and innocently curious about this very unusual and taboo topic.

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