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18 U.S.C. 2251 – Sexual Exploitation of Children

Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Representing People in North Carolina

Law enforcement agencies devote vast resources to stopping and prosecuting sex crimes against children, including sexual exploitation of children. Typically, sexual exploitation of children is prosecuted as a federal crime, and a conviction can result in grave and life-altering consequences. Although the government has the means and methods to build strong cases against people charged with sexual exploitation of children, that does not necessarily mean that it will win. In many instances, a person charged with sexual exploitation of children will be able to mount a compelling defense. The Charlotte and Concord child sexual exploitation lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm have ample experience helping criminal defendants fight for just results, and we can advocate aggressively on your behalf.

Sexual Exploitation of Children Under Federal Law

Federal law prohibits the sexual exploitation of children, which includes employing or using children to produce sexually explicit materials. In other words, it is not only illegal to distribute materials showing children partaking in sexually explicit acts, but also illegal to produce them. Specifically, pursuant to 18 U.S. Code section 2251(a), a person may be convicted of sexual exploitation of children for persuading, enticing, or coercing children into engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or transporting children with the intent to induce them to engage in sexually explicit conduct, for the purposes of creating videos, photographs, or other visual depictions of the conduct, and then transmitting the materials across state lines. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child.

While section 2251(a) broadly prohibits any party from sexually exploiting a child, section 2251(b) is aimed at punishing guardians or parents who allow their child to be exploited. Specifically, it makes it illegal for a parent or guardian to knowingly allow a minor child to engage in sexually explicit activity for the purposes of creating images or videos that will be disbursed over state lines. A child sexual exploitation attorney can help Charlotte or Concord parents develop a defense to this type of charge.

Section 2251(c) bars parties from distributing child pornography produced in other countries in the U.S. In other words, it prohibits parties from employing children to engage in sexually explicit conduct outside the U.S. for the purposes of producing images or videos of the conduct, if the person intends to distribute the visual depictions in the U.S. and actually distributes the visual depictions in the U.S.

Finally, section 2251(d) makes it punishable to knowingly make, publish, or print an advertisement or notice seeking or offering to exchange, buy, distribute, reproduce, or receive a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, or seeking the participation of a minor in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual materials.

Potential Defenses to Charges of Sexual Exploitation of Children

A person convicted under any section of 2251 may be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, depending on the person’s criminal history and other factors. Thus, it is important for anyone charged with sexually exploiting a child to retain a Charlotte or Concord child sexual exploitation attorney who can set forth a compelling defense. The defenses available will vary depending on the facts of each case, but some defenses are more commonly asserted than others. For example, if a defendant can prove that the person engaging in sexually explicit conduct was an adult, the defendant should be able to avoid a conviction. Similarly, if the images or videos in question do not actually depict sexually explicit conduct, the prosecution will be unable to prove its case.

Discuss Your Charges with a Trusted Sex Crime Attorney

Convictions for sexual exploitation of children carry serious consequences. If you are faced with federal charges of sexual exploitation of children, it is crucial to speak to an attorney as soon as possible regarding your rights. The sex crime lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm possess the skills and resources to help you fight your charges, and we can zealously pursue the best result available in your case. We represent people charged with sexual exploitation of children in Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties, including in Charlotte, Concord, Huntersville, Mint Hill, Matthews, Cornelius, Davidson, Pineville, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, Midland, and Mount Pleasant. We can be reached via our form online or by calling us at 704-405-2580 or at 704-918-4747 to set up a consultation to discuss your charges with a child sexual exploitation lawyer in Charlotte or Concord.

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