Williams and Walsh - Criminal Defense Overview

Child Pornography/Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

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Like many crimes in South Carolina, crimes involving child pornography are broken up into various degrees. The degrees can be described in three categories: production, dissemination and possession of child pornography. All degrees are felony offenses.

The most serious is First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, which prohibits the production of child pornography. This charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years to twenty years in jail.

Second Degree Exploitation of a Minor is a felony which prohibits the dissemination or reproduction of child pornography. This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years to ten years jail time.

Third Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor is a felony which prohibits the possession of child pornography. This charge can carry up to ten years in jail.

If you or a loved one is facing any of the above charges, please contact us today. We have experience in these matters and are here to help.

SECTION 16-15-395. First degree sexual exploitation of a minor defined; presumptions; defenses; penalties.

(A) An individual commits the offense of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material or performance, he:

(1) uses, employs, induces, coerces, encourages, or facilitates a minor to engage in or assist others to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity;

(2) permits a minor under his custody or control to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity;

(3) transports or finances the transportation of a minor through or across this State with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; or

(4) records, photographs, films, develops, duplicates, produces, or creates a digital electronic file for sale or pecuniary gain material that contains a visual representation depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity.

(B) In a prosecution under this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in a sexual activity depicted in material as a minor through its title, text, visual representations, or otherwise, is a minor.

(C) Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(D) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned for not less than three years nor more than twenty years. No part of the minimum sentence of imprisonment may be suspended nor is the individual convicted eligible for parole until he has served the minimum term of imprisonment. Sentences imposed pursuant to this section must run consecutively with and commence at the expiration of another sentence being served by the person sentenced.

SECTION 16-15-405. Second degree sexual exploitation of a minor defined; presumptions; defenses; penalties.

(A) An individual commits the offense of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material, he:

(1) records, photographs, films, develops, duplicates, produces, or creates digital electronic file material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity; or

(2) distributes, transports, exhibits, receives, sells, purchases, exchanges, or solicits material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity.

(B) In a prosecution under this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in sexual activity depicted in material as a minor through its title, text, visual representations, or otherwise, is a minor.

(C) Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(D) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not less than two years nor more than ten years. No part of the minimum sentence may be suspended nor is the individual convicted eligible for parole until he has served the minimum sentence.

SECTION 16-15-410. Third degree sexual exploitation of a minor defined; penalties; exception.

(A) An individual commits the offense of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material, he possesses material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual activity.

(B) In a prosecution pursuant to this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in sexual activity depicted as a minor through its title, text, visual representation, or otherwise is a minor.

(C) A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than ten years.

(D) This section does not apply to an employee of a law enforcement agency, including the State Law Enforcement Division, a prosecuting agency, including the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, or the South Carolina Department of Corrections who, while acting within the employee’s official capacity in the course of an investigation or criminal proceeding, is in possession of material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual activity.