FBI Decides To Ruin A Man's Life Over Nude Photos Of His Legal Girlfriend He Took Seven Years Ago
from the government-still-full-of-vindictive-assholes dept
You can be in a consensual, legal relationship but still end up a sex offender. That’s how child porn laws work. It’s legal to have sex, but illegal to take pictures. In Ohio, a 27-year-old man was arrested on child porn charges for taking pictures of his then-17-year-old girlfriend. (h/t Guy Hamilton-Smith)
The affidavit [PDF] from the FBI is a harrowing deliberate misconstruing of the actual events, written in service of destroying a man’s life. It makes the man appear to be some sort of child porn-producing fiend, when, in fact, it was just him taking photos of his girlfriend.
As will be shown below, there is probable cause to believe that Edward R. Marrero used a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct and such visual depiction was produced using materials that had mailed shipped and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2251(a).
On May 18, 2017, Affiant interviewed the pubescent female (Victim). The Victim admitted to being the ex-girlfriend of Marrero. The Victim identified herself and Marrero in a photograph in which Marrero’s hand and mouth were on the Victim’s breast.
On June 28, 2018, affiant telephonically interviewed the Victim. The Victim admitted that the photographs were taken in Cuyahoga County when she was under the age of 18.
Oh, and this:
The Kodak EasyShare camera was not produced in the State of Ohio.
So, there’s your “interstate” charge. Because the pictures were taken with a camera not “produced” in Ohio (but obviously sold in Ohio), the government is pretending this satisfies the clause needed to generate a minimum 15-year-prison term.
It all seems very damning, but here are the facts:
Edward Marrero, 27, said while testifying Thursday that he took the photos in April 2011, according to an affidavit written by FBI agent Lisa Hack. At the time, she was 17 years old and he was 20, authorities say.
Marrero is no longer in a relationship with the woman. He testified that he knew she was underage when he took the photos, the affidavit states.
The age of consent in Ohio is 16 years old, but federal law states it is illegal to create, share or possess sexually-explicit images of anyone under the age of 18.
The relationship was completely legal. The pictures somehow aren’t, even though no one could legally call the relationship (as it existed seven years ago) “exploitation” or “enticement.” But they can call the photos illegal and they can retcon the consensual relationship into a predator/prey dynamic using federal child porn charges.
The testimony referenced above wasn’t meant to incriminate Edward Marrero. He was testifying on behalf of another person facing child porn charges. When he detailed the pictures he took while in a consensual relationship with a 17-year-old, the feds decided to swear out an arrest warrant. While Marrero was informed of his Fifth Amendment rights, he most likely thought what he stated in court wasn’t incriminating (because the girlfriend was over the age of consent) or that the government would view his statements rationally and not immediately move to have him arrested.
As Guy Hamilton-Smith pointed out on Twitter, the federal government is being as punitive as possible, as quickly as possible. Marrero’s initial appearance was greeted with immediate detention and he’s been placed in the custody of the US Marshals. All this is happening over photos taken seven years ago by people in a consensual relationship. The accused wasn’t producing child porn by any rational definition of the statute. But it can be read in irrational ways to ruin lives just because.