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Sex crimes against minors may require sex offender registration

Conviction of sexual offenses against children may result in the defendant having to register as a sex offender. It depends on the nature, gravity and violent nature of the sex crimes. The Virginia criminal code specifies exactly what crimes require registry and the procedures required for an offender to remain in compliance.

The recent arrest of a man in Virginia Beach for three counts of the alleged unlawful filming of a minor and one count of attempted unlawful filming could mandate sex offender status if the accused is convicted on all three counts. Under Virginia law, there must be three convictions of unlawful filming, videotaping or photographing of a minor to establish sex offender registration status. The lodging of three counts may be tied to prosecutorial attempts to assure that the man becomes a registered sex offender upon conclusion of the prosecution. Most Virginia sex crimes that require sex offender status are violent crimes or crimes against a minor.

Virginia Beach Police allege that a camera was found by a minor in a bathroom of the United Methodist Church on 19th Street. They allege that the camera belongs to a former employee of the church. Church officials say that the accused was a part-time worker at the front desk. They say that as soon as they determined that it was his camera, they fired him quickly. It is unknown, however, whether there was any film seized by the church or turned over to the police. 

There are no accusations that the man had contact with any minors. The facts that connect the accused to ownership of the camera are also unknown. In fact, no details of the arrest have been revealed, other than that the man was released on $5,000 bond. Criminal defense counsel will conduct a thorough investigation and interview the accused in detail to obtain the facts for evaluation of potential defenses, or for negotiating a plea agreement to the alleged sex crimes. If the connection between the camera and the accused is weak and not supported by substantial evidence, the accused and his counsel will have to evaluate whether to go to trial or adopt an alternative strategy for resolving the case. 

Source: wtkr.com, "Virginia Beach man arrested for filming children in church bathroom", Aug. 21, 2017

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