Producing Child Pornography

In Florida, Fl. Stat. 827.071 prohibits the production of any performance that involves the sexual conduct of a minor. Performances are specifically defined under state law as plays, movies, photos, visual representations, or dances that are exhibited before an audience. Convictions have harsh consequences, as this offense is considered a second degree felony, which means that defendants could end up spending 15 years in prison for each count and be required to register as a sex offender.

Using a Minor in the Production of Harmful Materials

It is also unlawful under Fla. Stat. 847.012 to use a minor in the production of harmful materials, such as:
  • Pictures, photos, drawings, sculptures, movies, or visual representations of a person or a part of the human body, if it depicts nudity, sexual excitement, sexual conduct, sexual battery, abuse, or bestiality that is harmful to minors
  • Books, pamphlets, magazines, sound recordings, and any printed matter, regardless of how it was reproduced, that contains sexual conduct, explicit and detailed verbal descriptions, or narrative accounts of sexual excitement or sexual conduct that are harmful to minors.
According to Fla. Stat. 847.001(6), an image is harmful to minors if it is a reproduction, description, presentation, characterization, or exhibition that depicts nudity, sexual conduct, or sexual excitement that:
  • Primarily appeals to an erotic or sexual interest
  • Is patently offensive to current standards in the community with respect to what is suitable material
  • Is without serious literary, political, artistic, or scientific value for minors
Defendants who are accused of producing material that is harmful to minors can be charged with a third degree felony, which is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Each act or transaction constitutes a separate offense under this statute.

Selling or Buying Minors

Defendants who are accused of producing child pornography may also face charges of purchasing, offering to buy, or obtaining custody of a minor with the intent to produce a visual depiction of the child engaging in sexually explicit conduct. This offense is a first degree felony under Fl. Stat. 847.0145, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison for each count. This statute also covers offering to take custody of a minor if the person knew that he or she would be involved in the production of pornography, even if the defendant was not actually involved in production him or herself.

Sex Offender Registration

Those who are convicted of producing child pornography are required to register with the state’s sex offender registry. This involves providing law enforcement with identifying information, such as addresses, phone numbers, emails, fingerprints, photographs, and vehicle information. This information must be updated immediately when it changes and offenders are required to re-register at least twice a year with law enforcement. These individuals also face restrictions in where they can live, work, and travel.

Federal Law

The production of child pornography is also unlawful under federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 2251, which specifically prohibits coercing, employing, or enticing a minor to engage in the production of a depiction of sexually explicit conduct. Unlike other federal laws, a person does not have to have crossed state or international boundaries in order to be charged in federal court. As long as there is evidence of the following, a defendant can be charged with federal production of child pornography, in addition to or in lieu of state charges:
  • The defendant knew that the pornographic material would be transmitted via computer or the mail system
  • The defendant knew or should have known that production of the pornographic material would require the use of materials or equipment that had been transported through the mail system or a computer
When defendants are convicted of this federal offense, they face between 15 and 30 years in prison. These sentences can be increased if a defendant had a prior conviction for a sex offense.

Anyone outside of the U.S. who employs, uses, or coerces a minor to engage in the production of child pornography and intends to import the material into the country can be charged under 18 U.S. Code § 2260. Those who are convicted also face up to 30 years in prison, unless they have a prior record of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, or pornography-related offenses, in which case, the sentence could be increased to a minimum of 30 years. Defendants who are accused of producing child pornography internationally with the intent to ship it into the U.S. may also be charged with attempting to distribute or sell child pornography, which could add a minimum of five years onto a their sentence.
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