April 1, 2021 | Sex Crimes Defense |

Child Pornography and Sentencing Guidelines

Contact a Johnson County Sex Crimes Lawyer for Help Today

The introduction of the Internet and advanced technology to society brought with it many positive features such as quick access to information, the ability to easily share information by sending friendly emails or text messages to friends and family, posting on online blogs and creating social media pages, sending business documents quickly and easily, and even shopping online and having packages delivered to your doorstep.  However, the Internet also brought with it the ability to conduct illegal activity online easily such as the creation and distribution of child pornography.  Below, Johnson County sex crimes lawyer Jerry Merrill provides information on child pornography laws as well as sentencing guidelines.  

Do State and Federal Laws Apply to Child Pornography Cases?

Yes.  There are both state and federal laws that regulate and penalize child pornography.  

What is Child Pornography?

In general, child pornography is typically a visual image or depiction of a minor (usually a person less than 18 years of age) engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Federal and state statutes define child pornography in various ways.  

The federal government defines child pornography as: “any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where—

(A) The production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in   sexually explicit conduct;

(B) Such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or

(C) Such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

In Kansas, the sexual exploitation of a child consists of:

  • Employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing a person under 18 years of age to engage in explicit sexual conduct for the purpose of promoting any performance in a visual or printed medium, such as a film or photo either for profit or with the intent of arousing or satisfying a person’s sexual desires
  • Possessing a visual depiction of a person under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct with the intent of arousing or satisfying a person’s sexual desires
  • Consenting to sexually explicit conduct for any of the above purposes as the child’s parent, guardian, or person otherwise having custody of the child

According to Kansas law, “promoting” means procuring, selling, providing, lending, mailing, delivering, transferring, transmitting, distributing, circulating, disseminating, presenting, producing, directing, manufacturing, issuing, publishing, displaying, exhibiting or advertising.

What are the Penalties in Kansas for Child Pornography? 

In the state of Kansas, penalties for promoting or possessing child pornography can be severe and increase the younger the child involved is. The sexual exploitation of a child is considered a felony punishable by imprisonment from 55 to 136 months. If the child was under 14 years of age and the offender was 18 years of age or older, it is an off-grid felony punishable by up to life imprisonment.  Prison times can vary depending upon an offender’s prior criminal history as well as the number and type of prior convictions. These crimes can also carry significant monetary penalties in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range.  

What are Federal Sentencing Guidelines?

In addition to Kansas state law providing statutory penalties for promoting or possessing child pornography, the United States government also has established recommended federal sentencing guidelines for cases against individuals who have been charged with the possession, sale, or receipt of child pornography involving minors. 

With federal sentencing guidelines, the punishment will be modified by a variety of different factors, including but not limited to:

  • The age of the child.  The younger the child is the worse the charge.
  • The number of images.  An offense involving 10 to 150 images of child pornography will increase by two levels. An offense involving 600 or more images will increase by five levels.
  • Whether there was financial gain.  If child pornography is being sold for financial gain, the charge increases by five levels. 
  • Whether the distribution of child pornography was to a minor.  Distributing to a minor increases the charges.
  • Whether there were acts of violence involved. These acts increase the charges. 

For additional information from the United States Department of Justice regarding the U.S. Federal Law on Child Pornography, refer to Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Law on Child Pornography.

How Can Parents Protect Their Children from Child Pornography?

Unfortunately, the number of child pornography cases have been on the rise especially with the development of new technology and social media platforms that accommodate the easy dissemination of such images.  Accordingly, it is important for parents to take measures to protect their children from the dangers that children are exposed to from using the Internet and various technology and social media platforms.  

A Johnson County sex crimes lawyer provides four suggestions below to help protect your child from being a victim or perpetrator of child pornography:

  1. Set parental controls and other security measures on the technology used by your children to block illegal content and to send you notice of your child’s attempt to access such material.
  2. Take preventative measures to educate your children on the appropriate use of the Internet and technology as well as the legal penalties that exist from inappropriate use.  Also, educate your children on the dangers that exist when using the Internet such as being contacted in a chat room by a stranger that may share or request sexual content.  
  3. Encourage your children to come and talk to you if they ever come into contact with a person or image that seems to be inappropriate. 
  4. Be observant of your child’s behaviors and attitudes.  If you suspect your child may be experiencing sexual abuse or exploitation, intervene immediately.  

Have Questions? Contact Our Johnson County Sex Crimes Lawyer For a Free Legal Consultation

Child pornography is a severe crime that can cause significant damage to one’s reputation, life, and family.  Do you have questions about child pornography laws and sentencing guidelines? If so, contact an experienced Johnson County sex crimes lawyer at Merrill Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.  Jerry Merrill is an experienced criminal defense trial attorney licensed to practice law in the state of Kansas. He knows the way in which judges and prosecutors analyze cases and his trial experience to tirelessly pursue the best result for clients. You can reach our firm 24/7 by calling 913-381-2085 or by completing our online form.   

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Merrill Law Firm

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7211 West 98th Terrace, Building 4, Suite 140
Overland Park, Kansas 66212

T. 913-381-2085 | F. 913-341-1130

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