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State child porn headlines are a glimpse of a bigger problem

SANTA FE, N.M. — You may have seen or heard some of these New Mexico stories in recent months:

  • An Albuquerque kindergarten teacher arrested on charges of receiving and possessing child porn.
  • A pediatrician awaiting state Medical Board approval to practice in New Mexico convicted on a child porn possession charge.
  • A New York high school teacher arrested after allegedly trading money for nude photos of a New Mexico teen.
  • An Albuquerque man convicted after downloading pornographic images of infants.
  • A man arrested for allegedly processing photos of nude girls in an Alamogordo Wal-Mart.
  • A Farmington woman arrested for allegedly taking pornographic photos of a young relative.
  • An Albuquerque man who admitted filming children in the restroom at his office.

While these cases have grabbed headlines, they make up only a small sample of the child porn cases statewide, according to data from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the state Administrative Office of the Courts.

The task force reported 98 arrests in 2014 for Internet crimes against children, up from 36 in 2009. State district courts have disposed of about 60 child porn cases this year, more than four times the number in 2011.

In the 12 months ended Sept. 30, the U.S. Justice Department prosecuted seven cases in New Mexico where the lead charge was “material involving sexual exploitation of minors,” according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, which obtains and analyzes federal enforcement data. That was the lowest number of prosecutions since 2009, but more than the number of prosecutions in any year from 1995 to 2008.

Federal prosecutions also dropped nationwide in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, but remained significantly higher than they were a decade ago, according to the data clearinghouse.

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