Man Faces 30 Years in Prison on Child Porn Charges for Taking Sexy Photos of 17-Year-Old Girlfriend When He was 20
A 27-year-old Cleveland man faces between 15 and 30 years in prison for allegedly producing child pornography. But no children were harmed by his actions: The man merely took consensual, sexually suggestive pictures of his 17-year-old girlfriend when he was 20.
The age of consent in Ohio is 16, so it was legal for the man, Edward Marrero, to have sex with his girlfriend. It was a crime, however, to photograph her the in the nude, because the federal definition of child pornography covers images of anyone under the age of 18.
According to Cleveland.com, Marrero accidentally admitted his conduct while on the stand in federal court, testifying in defense of a roommate who was also facing child porn charges. (The article does not clarify whether the roommate’s alleged crimes were as farcical as Marrero’s, and it does not give the context of Marrero’s inadvertent confession.) As soon as Marrero had finished testifying, the feds arrested him.
FBI agents later interviewed Marrero’s ex-girlfriend, who confirmed that she was 17 at the time the pictures were taken. A conviction will force Marrero to register as a sex offender and could land him in prison for up to 30 years. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s guide to federal child pornography law, “a first time offender convicted of producing child pornography…face fines and a statutory minimum of 15 years to 30 years maximum in prison.” Under Ohio law, which also sets the cutoff for child pornography at 18, Marrero would have faced between six months and eight years.
It defies all reason that a man could go to prison for three decades for taking a sexy picture of a teenager who was deemed fully capable of consenting to sex. This is a travesty of justice, a violation of consenting adults’ sexual freedoms, an abuse of mandatory minimum sentencing, a blow to states’ rights, and an absurd waste of the FBI’s time.