As a Former Baltimore Prosecutor and current criminal attorney I have been involved in the prosecution of hundreds of child sex offenders. The disgraced and now deceased Johns Hopkins Gynecologist, Dr. Nikita Levy, would have likely faced prosecution under multiple federal and state criminal statutes had he not apparently committed suicide. The police are conducting an investigation that could potentially lead to charges against others if they either conspired with him to collect the images without the knowledge of the victims or if the materials were distributed to by others. In addition to many other areas of practice at STSW, we have a Practice Area Exclusively Dedicated to the Protection of Victim’s Rights.
Among the most serious charges that could have been filed against Dr. Levy and anyone who may have participated with him in these crimes, are charges involving the possession, distribution and manufacture of child pornography. According to news reports, many of his long time patients sent subsequently sent their daughters to him for gynecological care. Assuming any of the large cache of photos allegedly found in his home, turn out to be of minor victims, these statutes have undoubtedly been violated.
Under both Maryland and federal law it is a crime to possess. manufacture of distribute child pornography. Child pornography is generally defined as being images or video of the genitalia of a child under the age of 18 or depictions of that child participating in the commission of sexual acts either with adults or with other minors. Under Maryland state law a person can be incarcerated for up 10 years for violating the statute in any of the above described ways but there are no mandatory penalties. Under federal law the penalties are much more severe.
For “receipt” or simple possession of child pornography a person faces a mandatory minimum sentence under federal law of 5 years without the possibility of parole. For the act of distributing child pornography the mandatory sentence is 10 years. It is 15 years for the manufacture of child pornography which the alleged conduct of Dr. Levy would clearly constitute.
If during the police investigation, they determine that he had co-conspirators or that he distributed the materials to any other persons, they too face the prospect of either state or federal prosecution. If they in turn distributed these materials to others, those people could also face charges. There is little doubt that the police have or soon will conduct a thorough forensic investigation of Dr. Levy’s computer to include his email and hard drive to see if they include other images or file sharing programs such as Limewire which are commonly used in the distribution of child pornography.
With the adult victims criminal violations have also occurred if the allegations against Dr. Levy are true. Under Maryland law a person may not “with prurient intent” photograph the private areas of an individual without the consent of that person. This act is punishable by a fine of $2500 and up to 1 year in prison for each act. Once again, if the allegations against Dr. Levy are proved to be true he likely violated this statute many hundreds if not thousands of times based on what is being reported in the media.
Finally, in addition to criminal liability, civil liability against, Dr. Levy, his estate, any potential co- conspirators and possibly Johns Hopkins Hospital may exist to redress his egregious conduct. Child victims in particular should contact legal representation to discuss their rights as their are federal statutes which include mandatory damages of $150,000 for anyone found to be in possession of pornographic images of them including anyone Dr. Levy may have distributed these images to.
Please contact our office if you are a patient of Dr. Levy to discuss your rights as a potential victim.