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Technicality scrubs Fla. porn conviction

Dec. 4, 2010 at 3:00 PM

LAKELAND, Fla., Dec. 4 (UPI) -- A Florida appeals court reversed the child pornography conviction of a former Scott Lake school principal, officials said.

The Second District Court of Appeal said the conviction was not warranted because the incriminating computer images featured the bodies of adults with the faces of minors superimposed on them.

"Unseemly as the images in this case may be, their possession is not (outlawed in Florida) because the only sexual conduct in the images is that of an adult," the three-judge panel said in its unanimous ruling.

John Stemlack was sentenced last year to five years in prison for possession of child pornography. However he appealed on the grounds the sexual acts did not actually involve children.

The Ledger in Lakeland, Fla., said Saturday that the concept of computer-enhanced pornographic images involving minors was prohibited by federal law, but had not been addressed by Florida state statutes.

State lawyers argued that the fact that the images children's faces, including at least one student at Stemlack's school, had been added to the image demonstrated intent to simulate a sexual situation involving a minor.

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