In Massachusetts and throughout the country, a conviction of distribution, possession or production of child pornography will carry serious punishments. The Internet has drastically changed the way child pornography is distributed and has increased its availability. It has also created a financial incentive for child pornography production. As a result, state and federal task forces have stepped up investigations and are catching an ever–growing amount of those who distribute, possess, and produce child pornography.
Possession of Child Pornography
Here in Massachusetts, General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29C makes it a crime to purchase or possess child pornography. It must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the purchase or possession was with knowledge and that the defendant had knowledge of the content of the material. It must also be proven that the defendant knew or should have known that the person exhibited in the material was under the age of eighteen. “Child pornography,” within the meaning of this statute, means visual material depicting children under 18 involved in sex or sexual contact, including lewd touching, lewd display of private areas, and masturbation. The exhibition can be either actual or simulated. For a first conviction, this crime carries a potential punishment of up to 5 years in the state prison (or up to 2.5 in a house of correction or jail) and/or a fine of at least $1,000 and up to $10,000. Subsequent convictions carry mandatory minimums.
Distribution Of Child Pornography
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29B prohibits dissemination of child pornography. In addition to the dissemination (distribution) element, it must be proven that the dissemination was intentional, that the defendant knew or should have known the material’s contents, and that the defendant had lascivious intent. Furthermore, the material must have shown a person who was under eighteen in a state of sexual contact or nudity. If convicted of distribution of child pornography, you will be looking at a 10–year (or $10,000) mandatory minimum, and your sentence could reach up to 20 years in state prison.
Production Of Child Pornography
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272 Section 29A makes it a crime to pose or exhibit a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct. This includes hiring, coercing, using, causing, knowingly allowing, procuring, enticing, employing or soliciting a child to be exhibited in sex acts or in a state of nudity. It must also be proven that the defendant had lascivious intent, knew or should have known that the person was under 18, and had the purpose of producing visual material. Producing visual material exhibiting nudity alone is not enough to support a conviction of this crime. This crime carries a 10–year (or $10,000) mandatory minimum sentence, and it could reach up to 20 years or $50,000, or both.
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