Possession of child pornography can be charged at the State level, and often is. It can also be charged as a Federal crime. So when I said this was Federal, I was specifically referring to the simulated child pornography in the comics. There may be a State law counterpart, but probably not. I mentioned that it only became illegal in 2003, because if Tera is now 18, in 2003 she would have been 11 or 12... if the images were drawn before then, it probably would not have been illegal. Even if they were drawn post 2003, it may not be charged. If you wanted to avoid going down this path, you could easily have the prosecutor bring Tera in to discuss the possible molestation, and not have him charged Federally- just because of the gray area of the law and also the elapsed time many prosecutors wouldn't want to mess with it.
If the feds need to step in, usually what happens that they are notified by the local authorities and both cases are charged simultaneously (charged in Federal court while also charged in local county court). The prosecutor would be a U.S. Attorney, but the defense attorney could be the same person, and usually is. There is a U.S. District Court in Seattle, and that is where the FBI and U.S. Attorney would be located. The defense attorney would remain the same. The process is somewhat different in that it is very difficult to beat Federal charges, they take a longer time to build a case and they pretty much always have the defendant dead-to-rights before the case is filed. Tera and her dad would be notified through their attorney.
As far as notification... the U.S. Attorney would probably contact the defense attorney, or just send mail an indictment to the father in prison and the attorney. Most of the time, the local prosecutor will tell the defense attorney, that the charge is being sent up to the feds, and he will know what is coming. Then the defense attorney would enter his appearance in the Federal case too.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).