Exposing a Minor to PornographyUnder Fla. Stat. 847.013, it is unlawful to knowingly expose a minor to movies, shows, presentations, exhibitions, or representations that are considered harmful, which includes content that contains nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or abuse. When this type of material is involved, people are prohibited from:
- Knowingly exhibiting, selling, or renting this type of movie to a minor in exchange for monetary consideration
- Knowingly selling a ticket to a minor for admission to a movie or representation depicting sexual conduct
- Knowingly renting, selling, or loaning a video tape to a minor that contains this kind of material
Defining “Knowingly”A person can only be convicted of this offense, if there is evidence that he or she knowingly exposed a minor to harmful material. Under Florida law, knowingly is defined as having general knowledge of, a reason to know, or a belief that justifies further inspection of:
- The character and content of the material
- The age of the minor
- They were not aware of the minor’s age
- The minor lied about his or her age
- They had a bona fide belief that the minor was over the age of 18 years old
- The minor consented to viewing the material in question
Defendants who are accused of violating one of this statute’s provisions, can be charged with a first degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
What Qualifies as Harmful to Minors?Before a person can be convicted of this offense, a prosecutor must be able to provide evidence that the movie, presentation, or exhibition allegedly shown to the minor was harmful. Under Fla. Stat. 847.001, harmful to minors means any reproduction, presentation, description, or exhibition that depicts nudity, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement, when it:
- Appeals to an erotic or shameful interest
- Is patently offensive to standards in the community as to what is considered suitable viewing material for minors
- Is without serious artistic, literary, political, or scientific value for minors
The content of a movie, show, or exhibition must satisfy these definitions before a person can be convicted of exposing a minor to pornography.
Application and EnforcementIn an effort to make the enforcement of this law uniform across the state, the Florida Legislature specifically preempted all existing county ordinances and municipal laws related to the exposure of minors under the age of 17 years old to harmful movies and representations. Further, counties and cities are also prohibited from adopting any ordinance related to what qualifies as the exposure of minors to pornographic materials.
Exposing a Minor to Obscene MaterialIn Florida, it is also against the law to knowingly sell, loan, rent, distribute, or transmit any obscene material to a minor. Material is obscene if it satisfies the following test:
- The average person, applying community standards, would find that the material appeals to a prurient interest
- The material depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive manner
- The material lacks serious artistic, literary, scientific, or political value
- Comic books