Pornography Charges Against Mother Dropped

December 19, 1990|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,SUN STAFF

The photographs, seized in a raid last May at a Pasadena man's home, depict two pre-teen sisters in sexually suggestive poses in their underwear.

Prosecutors said the photos, more than 15 in all, were taken with the mother's permission.

Would the mother be guilty of child pornography?

As it turns out, there is a fine legal line between exploitation and child pornography, and prosecutors determined the mother had not crossed it. A child pornography charge was dropped, and the mother was placed on probation yesterday for sexual child abuse.

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee has said he could recall no other case in his two decades as a prosecutor in the county in which a parent was charged with allowing a child to pose for sexually suggestive photographs.

"The pictures weren't explicit enough to qualify as child pornography," said Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia M. Ferris. The prosecutor said the law requires the pictures to show sex acts such as intercourse, masturbation or touching of the genitals or buttocks to be deemed child pornography.

The 43-year-old mother was found guilty yesterday of sexual child abuse, Ferris said. But county Circuit Judge Bruce C. Williams granted the woman probation before judgment, meaning the conviction will be erased if she successfully completes three years of supervised probation. Sexual child abuse carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. Child pornography carries a fine of up to $15,000.

The woman's name is being withheld to protect the identity of the children, who were 10 and 11 when the photos were taken in August 1988. She is described as a former girlfriend of James Dunlap Faucette, 54, who is scheduled to be tried in separate trials in February on charges of second-degree rape and child pornography.

After Faucette was charged with raping a teen-age girl, police raided his home in the first block Granada Road in the Sunset Beach area last May 16 and found a cache of about 1,000 photographs of children. Further investigation led to the woman's arrest two weeks later.

Ferris said the woman would be under the supervision of county social services officials during her probation. The prosecutor said the girls are in foster care.

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