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August 2012 Archives

Do photos of children playing naked constitute child pornography?

Perhaps because of the press coverage about child molestation convictions of Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, another story about a college football coach has made national headlines. In his case, however, the charge is possession of child pornography, and it raises the question of what, exactly, constitutes a sexual or exploitative image of a child.

Drug charges dismissed against teen reality TV 'Teen Mom'

The popular TV reality show "Teen Mom" shows Pennsylvania viewers the real-life drama of teenage parents. One star of the show had been facing four criminal charges including assault, marijuana possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance.

Authorities investigating Jerry Sandusky for child pornography

Federal investigators are looking into whether former Penn State University assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sent and received child pornography on the Internet and used the mail to send "seductive letters" to some of the boys he was convicted of sexually assaulting. If charges are brought, Sandusky could face further punishment on top of what he is expected to receive after being convicted in June of 45 counts related to sexual assault of 10 minors over a 15 year period.

Man charged with drug possession after being dragged by car

An Allegheny County man who was injured after being dragged by a car for several feet in July now faces drug paraphernalia possession charges in connection with the incidents. Police say that what they initially described as a road rage incident was actually a disputed drug deal.

Man who was shot in struggle pleads not guilty to gun charges

A 52-year-old man who was shot on Sep. 25 during a fight with a friend of his has been hit with gun charges due to his prior record of robbery convictions, which could put him in prison for the rest of his life. The man pleaded not guilty to gun possession at a federal court hearing on Aug. 21, and denied the government's version of events. Meanwhile, prosecutors dropped charges against the friend due to lack of evidence.

More federal charges in Pitt bomb threat case

Federal prosecutors have charged a Scottish man with sending some of the bomb threats that the University of Pittsburgh dealt with earlier this year. They have also added criminal charges to their case against the Ohio man they accuse of threatening to release university computer files over the way Pitt's administration handled the bomb scares. The charges describe the Scottish man as a terrorist for his association with a nationalist group, though the activities they describe seem to be mostly hoaxes.

Federal jury hangs on Pittsburgh man's wrongful arrest lawsuit

Attorneys for an African American Pittsburgh man who was arrested and beaten by three white police officers in January 2010 say their client will continue his legal battle after a federal court jury failed to come to a verdict on allegations of false arrest and excessive force against the officers. That means that a future jury will re-hear the case against the officers, who allegedly arrested the plaintiff for lurking without identifying themselves, hit him on the head and choked him while he was handcuffed.

Pennsylvania tax preparer pleads guilty to fraud, avoids prison

A professional tax preparer from western Pennsylvania who was charged in March 2011 with preparing fraudulent returns for some of his clients has pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud. As part of the plea deal, the court sentenced the man to six months of home confinement and three years of probation, but he will not serve prison time as he could have been sentenced to if convicted at trial.

Parent's complaint leads to criminal charges against church

The leaders of a Pennsylvania church are facing legal trouble after an event in March where teenage parishioners were "kidnapped" as part of a lesson about the possible experiences of missionary work. Perhaps ironically, the pastor of the church says the exercise was meant to simulate "the persecuted church" that he said goes on in other countries.

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