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creased access to the internet and new technology is believed to have made the exploitation of minors easier than ever. This has led to adjustments to child pornography laws and harsher penalties.
This article explains key terms and legislation you should know. Keep reading.
1. What Is Legally Considered Child Pornography?
Under federal law, child pornography (CP) is any type of visual representation of a minor (younger than eighteen) naked or in a sexually suggestive or explicit situation. This is outlined in the U.S. Code of Laws, Title 18 U.S. Code Chapter 110:
“Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in… any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction…”
2. Violating Child Pornography Laws
You do not have to participate in the coercion of or the act of sexualizing a child to be found guilty. Being in possession and/or storing such content, viewing, and the distribution of CP is punishable under federal and state laws.
The laws in your state may differ from the ones mentioned above, which also means an offender could be charged on a state and federal level.
3. Federal vs. State Laws
A CP case involving the internet will involve federal prosecution, as the publication or distribution of content online falls under the First Amendment. While the First Amendment protects freedom of speech and expression against censorship, CP endorses illegal transactions, which are not protected.
Federal charges may apply to any saved or downloaded CP content through the internet. Some states establish differentiations between possession of CP and one who unknowingly viewed or downloaded that content.
Photographs can be downloaded without the user’s knowledge or intent. Similarly, if a user views a website with sexual images of minors and exits immediately, the computer will store a copy of that data as cache. This is likely not enough to warrant a conviction.
Charges depend on the actions of the offender in regards to the production, ownership, or spread of explicit content. Content shared across state/international lines or through the postal service violates federal laws.
What tends to differ between states is the legal age of consent. In states such as Texas, the age of consent is 17 years of age. A person who is 17 can legally enter a consensual sexual relationship with another person no more than 4 years younger.
4. Prosecution and Child Pornography Charges
A first-time offender found guilty of producing CP risks fines and a minimum prison sentence of 15 years. If found distributing CP, the minimum sentence is 5 years. Convicted individuals with a criminal record or charges for sexual abuse of a minor risk a lifetime prison sentence.
The laws surrounding CP are serious and complicated. To understand more about child pornography penalties and steps to take, go to nonstopjustice.com.
Consider the Consequences
The United States’ child pornography laws are complex and heavily enforced. The laws in the country vary versus the laws in states, so it is important to understand both.
For more informative articles like this, take a look at the rest of our blog.