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Ex-teacher Charged In Child Porn Case

MIAMI, Aug. 1 (UPI) — Defense attorneys say a former teacher can’t be prosecuted for viewing child pornography because he did so before a law banning it was enacted.

Prosecutors disagree and are pursuing charges against a Harvard-educated attorney who later earned a master’s degree in elementary education, The Miami Herald reported Monday.

Prosecutors allege ex-elementary schoolteacher Robert DeNapoli, 50, broke state law when he viewed child pornography in a University of Miami computer lab in 2006.

DeNapoli is charged with eight counts of possessing child pornography; the case against the former teacher will be heard Aug. 10 by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Leon Firtel.

Defense attorneys want Firtel to throw out the case, saying DeNapoli never downloaded any images, and his alleged activities took place before a law making it illegal to do so was enacted. A subsequent search of DeNapoli’s home and home computer found no child pornography.

“What he allegedly did was not illegal, and for those reasons the case should be dismissed,” said Mark Seiden, DeNapoli’s defense attorney.

Prosecutor Brenda Mezick said Florida law has long outlawed DeNapoli’s alleged behavior.

DeNapoli “exerted his control over the images by maneuvering the Web site, navigating through the galleries of the Web site. He then accessed other child pornography Web sites and associated links,” Mezick said in court documents. “He exercised dominion over the images.”

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