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Criminal defense of "inappropriate" texts to a minor

Many New Jersey readers followed the media coverage that surrounded a recent report that the daughter of talk show host and comedian Rosie O'Donnell was missing. The 17-year-old was found in the Barnegat home of a man with previous felony convictions, and he has been charged with additional crimes connected to his relationship with the minor child. As he works to prepare a criminal defense in the matter, many will continue to follow the case as additional details are released.

The 25-year-old man is accused of distributing obscene material to a minor and endangering a child. Those allegations are the result of evidence that authorities claim was found on the girl's cell phone. Police have stated that the man was "involved with" the teen, but it is not clear if the two were engaged in a dating relationship.

The manner in which these charges will be addressed in court depends in large part on the details of the connection between the man and the teen. Whether the man was aware of the girl's age may also come into play. It is important to note that he has not been charged with any form of kidnapping or assault, which suggests that the teen was in his home voluntarily and that she was not subjected to physical harm.

These types of cases are handled very carefully in the New Jersey legal system. While it is of the utmost importance to protect the safety of children, there are a number of considerations that make these types of incidents difficult to view in a black and white manner. In this case, very few details have been released concerning how the two came into contact with one another or the nature of their relationship. As the case moves forward and a criminal defense is structured, it is important that the public avoid reaching conclusions about the matter.

Source: ijreview.com, "Texts from Phone of Heroin Dealer Found with Rosie O'Donnell's Daughter Have Him in Hot Water", Katie Lapotin, Aug. 22, 2015

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