|Father Works to Free Appalachian State Student Arrested on Child Pornography Charges|
|Written by Adam Hicks|
|Wednesday, 15 July 2009 05:39|
A recent graduate from Watauga High School is serving an eight-year sentence in federal prison in White Deer, Pennsylvania. 22-year-old Josh Shields was charged with possession of child pornography when he was 18-years-old. His father, Douglas Shields, believes Josh was wrongly prosecuted and is working to set him free.
Douglas Shields said his son began looking at Internet pornography when he was 10-years-old. Shields explained his son was looking at adolescents his own age and in doing so, he “was sucked into the cesspool of what is to mature adults, child pornography.”
Shields admits he and Josh’s mother failed in preventing their son from accessing such pornography, but points out that federal law enforcement agencies also failed to protect him from illegal pornographic material.
Douglas Shields said Josh graduated with honors from Watauga High School in June 2005 and the same week, federal and state law enforcement agents arrived at the Shields’ home to execute a search warrant related to child pornography. Douglas Shields says the warrant was based on an event that occurred while Josh was a juvenile, but agents waited until he had turned 18 to act on the warrant.
The Shields family didn’t know if charges would be filed until about a year-and-a-half later, when Josh was enrolled at Appalachian State.
Douglas Shields said his son finally appeared in court about three-and-a-half years after the original search warrant was served. Shields said after the judge heard the defense’s witnesses, which included a clinical psychologist, his son was sentenced to serve eight years in federal prison. Josh began serving his sentence on July 1.
One venue Douglas Shields has been utilizing to raise awareness of what he believes is an injustice to his son is a group on the popular social networking website, Facebook. The group can be found at http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=102549365377.
Douglas Shields said he not only hopes to have his son freed, but also wants to raise awareness about the dangers of Internet pornography to young people. Shields said he doesn’t want another family to go through what his family has dealt with over the past few years.
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