About Child Pornography
St. Louis Sex Crime Attorney
According to the United States Department of Justice, child pornography is a form of child sexual exploitation. Federal law defines child pornography as any type of visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving someone under the age of 18. Under federal law, the production, distribution, importation, reception, or possession of any image of child pornography is strictly prohibited. A violation of a federal child pornography law is considered a serious criminal offense and those who are convicted face severe statutory penalties.
By the mid-1980's the trafficking of child pornography images in the United States was virtually non-existent through a series of successful campaigns that were waged by law enforcement. Since the producing and reproducing of such images was difficult and costly, it was impossible to distribute and receive such images anonymously. However, with the advent of the Internet, child pornography exploded worldwide, making it easier than ever before to create, access and share child sexual abuse images with the click of a button.
Today, accessing child pornographic images is extremely easy through email, websites, instant messaging, bulletin boards, social networking sites, newsgroups and other electronic means of communication. While the Internet has created a means for posting, distributing and sharing child sexual abuse images, it has also made it easier than ever before for such images to land on an innocent person's computer screen. The problem is that when such images wind up on someone's computer or laptop inadvertently, such person may be subject to a criminal investigation.
Child Exploitation Obscenity Section & the HTIU
The Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) was created in 1987; its mission is to protect the welfare of America's children by enforcing federal criminal statutes that are related to the exploitation of children and obscenity. The CEOS has what is called a High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU), which was created in 2002. Together, the CEOS and the HTIU are the nation's experts in prosecuting cases involving child exploitation and investigating crimes involving child exploitation. It is CEOS's attorneys and the HTIU forensic specialists which lead the Department of Justice's efforts in enforcing the federal child exploitation laws.
Missouri Child Pornography Laws
In Missouri, possession of child pornography is covered under § 573.037, it states that a person commits the crime of possession of child pornography when he or she knowingly or recklessly possesses any child pornography depicting a minor under the age of 18, or any obscene material that portrays a minor that appears to be under the age of 18. Possession of child pornography is a Class C felony offense unless the person possesses more than 20 images of child pornography, or possesses one movie, film, videotape production, or other moving image of child pornography, or has pleaded guilty to an offense under this section, in which case they would be guilty of a Class B felony.
Under § 573.025, a person is guilty of promoting child pornography in the first degree when he or she possesses with the intent to promote or promotes child pornography of a child below the age of 14 or obscene material which portrays a child that appears to be younger than 14 years of age. Promoting child pornography in the first degree is Class B felony offense. However, if such person knowingly promotes such material to a minor, then it is a Class A felony offense.
In Missouri, the sentencing for a Class A felony offense is a term not less than 10 years and not to exceed 30 years, or life imprisonment. The sentencing for a Class B felony is a term not less than 5 years and not longer than 15 years. For a Class C felony, the sentencing is not to exceed 7 years.
St. Louis Sex Crime Lawyer
As you can see, the repercussions of a child pornography charge are severe, not only do they involve felony charges, but under Offenses Requiring Registration (589.400), possession of child pornography, furnishing pornographic material to minors, and promoting child pornography in the first and second degree require sex offender registration. At The Sumner Law Group, we are well-versed in state and federal child pornography laws, and we are adept at handling such high profile cases. We understand how due to the Internet, an innocent person can accidentally gain access to such images, or they can possess such images without being aware that they depicted someone under the age of 18.
If you are facing charges for child pornography, we urge you to contact a St. Louis child pornography lawyer from our firm at once to protect your rights and your freedom!