The first law on child pornography and sexual exploitation in the United States was enacted in 1978. However, due to various loopholes in the laws which defendants have exploited, there has been tremendous development to expand the definitions therein.
Such significant legal development was witnessed in 1982 in a United States Supreme Court case of New York vs. Feber. New York at this time had a law that prohibited individuals from promoting any performance which included sexual conduct by a child less than sixteen years. Paul Feber who owned a bookstore in Manhattan was charged under this law for selling a film depicting two young boys masturbating to an undercover officer.
At trial, he was convicted for promoting indecent sexual performances a decision which was later overturned by the New York Court of Appeal since the First Amendment protected the obscenity law.
Over the years the lawmakers have strengthened the Child Protection and Enforcement Act to make the possession and promotion of child pornography illegal.
What is Child Pornography?
The term child pornography is used in diverse platforms to describe the sexual exploitation of minors. This phrase “child pornography” is more of a legal term that attorneys use to depict the visual material which includes photographs and videos that document the felony. However, the activities around these heinous acts are a form of exploitation and child abuse.
This form of exploitation doesn’t segregate on gender lines statistics show that both girls and boys fall victim. Under the Texas child pornography laws if an individual is caught in possession of six or more identical visual representations of a child engaging in sexual conduct, then the court makes a presumption that they had the intention of promoting the material.
Texas Child Pornography Crime Classifications
The classifications are in two broad categories, those covering sexual performance by a child, and for possession of child pornography. If you have a criminal charge against for a kiddy porn charge, call Jack B. Carroll, the child pornography defense expert.
I. SEXUAL PERFORMANCE BY A CHILD CATEGORY
1. Class A misdemeanor. Under the sex crimes of the Texas laws, a person will be charged under this section if they employ or authorize a child to work for a sexually oriented commercial activity which involves nudity.
If convicted under this class the accused person faces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $ 4,000.
2. Third-degree felony. This charge is sentenced when the court proves that an individual knowingly produced, directed and promoted a sexual performance by a child under the age of 18 years.
The sentence under this class is 2 to 10 years in state prison with a fine of up to $ 10,000.
3. Second-degree felony. The charged is sentenced to a person found guilty of employing a child under the age of 18 for sexual activity or for knowingly promoting sexual content that depicts performance of a child under the age of 14.
The sentence is 2 to 20 years in prison with a fine of up to $ 10,000.
4. First-degree felony. A charge for employing a child under 14 for sexual conduct the sentence under this class is 5 years to life imprisonment with a fine of up to $10,000.
II. CAUGHT IN POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CATEGORY.
1. Third-degree felony. Is a sentence issued when an individual is convicted of possession of child pornography.
2. Second-degree felony. This charge is for the possession with intent to promote or distribute the child pornography.
The sentences and penalties are the same as the ones for child performance but depending on the severity of the charges they could change. And as law in Texas, once an individual is convicted of such offenses, they are forced to register with the sex offender registry a public record that is accessible to the public.
The state of Texas has been in the limelight in the fight against child pornography with harsh sentences to persons found guilty. In one such case, a man was sentenced to a 220 years jail term for possession of Kiddies porn. The San Antonio man was found guilty of downloading prepubescent child pornography with evidence of 22 counts of possession.
Defenses TO POSSESSION CHARGES
1. Not in Possession. Here the defendant can claim the child pornography don’t belong to them. This form of argument is used when content is found in a computer that can be accessed by other people.
2. Content is not child pornography. Some materials are exempted by the Motion Picture Association of America.
3. Unintended Possession. The defendant could defend themselves if the content were accidentally received either through a malicious website or spam mail.
4. Entrapment. This form of defense can be used when the defendant commits the crime of purchasing content that wasn’t clearly labeled and thus encouraging them to commit a crime they wouldn’t have otherwise committed.