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News Link • Sexuality: Sex and the Law

Expert Witness Dinged $300,000 for Making Fake Child Porn

• http://www.wired.com, By David Kravets

Attorney Dean Boland purchased innocent pictures of two juvenile girls from a Canadian stock-image website, then digitally modified them to make it appear as if the children were engaged in sexual conduct.

Boland was an expert witness for the defense in a half-dozen child porn cases and made the mock-ups to punctuate his argument that child pornography laws are unconstitutionally overbroad because they could apply to faked photos.

As a result, in 2007 he found himself the defendant in a deferred federal child-porn prosecution in Ohio, even though his exhibits helped clear at least one client of child-porn-related allegations. Now, a federal appeals court is upholding a $300,000 verdict in a lawsuit brought by the parents of two of the girls whose images Boland doctored.

“This $300,000 award undoubtedly amounts to tough medicine for Boland,” the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (.pdf) Friday. “When he created morphed images, he intended to help criminal defendants, not harm innocent children. Yet his actions did harm children, and Congress has shown that it ‘means business’ in addressing this problem by creating sizeable damages awards for victims of this conduct.” 

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