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If You Download Child Porn "We Will Find You... We Will Sue You," Says Minn. Lawyer

(CBS/AP)
ST. PAUL, Minn. (CBS/AP) Jeffrey Anderson, an attorney who has filed thousands of lawsuits against priests accused of sexual abuse, plans to use a little-known federal law to take on anyone who downloads child pornography.

"If you choose to download images of child pornography, we will track you," Anderson said. "We will find you. We will expose you. And we will sue you."

Anderson said on Wednesday the goal of his latest lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, is to prevent the dissemination of child pornography by exposing perpetrators and making them pay.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Minnesota boy who was 9 when pictures of him were taken. The defendants include one man, Gregg Alan Larsen, 49, of Minneapolis, and 100 unnamed "downloaders" who received and viewed images of the boy. Once those people's identities are known, they will be named in the lawsuit, Anderson said.

The case is based on a federal law that was enhanced in 2006 to increase the minimum civil penalty to $150,000 for anyone who downloads child pornography.  "Masha's Law," named after a girl adopted from Russia at age 5 by a man who sexually abused her and recorded it, does not require that a defendant be convicted of a crime.

There have been few cases pursued under Masha's Law. Jeanne Cooney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota, said the office isn't aware of any other cases like Anderson's but supports any action that deters child pornography and helps victims.

Anderson said he won't get in the way of a criminal investigation but would seek court orders for access to evidence collected by authorities, such as IP addresses, e-mails or other electronic threads left when an image is downloaded.

"We've got the will, law enforcement has got the way," the lawyer said.

  • Edecio Martinez

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