Child pornography is illegal in all 50 states, to include Rhode Island. Conduct relating to child pornographic material may be punishable under state and/or federal law.
Any violation of the Rhode Island child pornography statute is a felony sex offense. Under Rhode Island criminal law, child pornography offenses may be found in Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-9-1.3.
What is Child Pornography
Under Rhode Island criminal law, child pornography is defined as any photograph, film, video, image, picture, or computer-generated digital image or video, that displays a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. This may include the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct alone with others to include children or adults.
Child pornography is considered obscene material and is not constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. This material is outlawed under all circumstances.
What is Sexually Explicit Conduct under Rhode Island Child Pornography Law
In the context of Rhode Island criminal law regarding Child Pornography, sexually explicit conduct means all forms of sexual intercourse, oral intercourse, anal intercourse, bestiality, masturbation, sadistic of masochistic abuse, or graphic or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a minor.
What Conduct Violates the Rhode Island Child Pornography Law
Various forms of conduct violate the Rhode Island Child Pornography law. This includes:
- producing child pornography;
- reproducing child pornography by any means of distribution;
- delivering or transferring child pornography by any means; or
- possessing any form of child pornography to include book, magazine, photo, picture, image, film, video, or electronic or computer file.
To learn more about the Child Pornography Federal Laws go to the Federal Law on Child Pornography page.
Potential Defenses to Child Pornography Crimes
The recognizes various defenses to child pornography crimes. Rhode Island criminal law regarding child pornography has two affirmative defenses.
One affirmative defense exists where the alleged minor depicted as engaged in sexually explicit conduct was actually an adult at the time the pornographic material was created, and the material was not described or promoted in such a way as to convey the impression that the visual depiction was of a minor.
A second affirmative defense to possession of child pornography exists where the total number of images possessed where less than three and the defendant promptly, and without retaining or allowing others to see, took reasonable steps to destroy the image(s) or report the existence of the image(s) to law enforcement authorities.
Another defense to the crime of possessing child pornography, though not recognized specifically, by the Rhode Island general law, is that the defendant did not know or was not aware that he or she possessed the material.
Potential Punishment if Convicted of a Child Pornography Crime in Rhode Island
Any Child Pornography crime is considered a felony under Rhode Island law. The penalties for violating the Rhode Island Child Pornography Law may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-9-1.3 (b).
A defendant who is convicted of producing child pornography; reproducing child pornography by any means; or mailing, transporting, delivering or transferring child pornography by any means may be imprisoned for a term up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.00.
A defendant who is convicted solely of possessing child pornography may be imprisoned for up to 5 years and/or a fine of not more than $5,000.00. Because any child pornography crime is a sex offense, convicted offenders must also comply with sex offender registration and counseling requirements.
Child Pornography Offenses
Child pornography consists of obscene sexual depictions of children. These materials are illegal to possess, manufacture or distribute. Child pornography may consist of either still images or videos. These illegal pornographic materials depict children in the nude or engaging in sexual acts.
Child pornography is banned under both state and federal laws. Child pornography is considered obscene and is not constitutionally protected by the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and expression.
Studies show that child pornographic materials victimize children through both the manufacturing and creation of these materials, as well as to lure them in to scenarios of abuse by demonstrating and encouraging their participation in sexual acts. Society and the government share the compelling goal of protecting children, and thereby manning child pornographic materials.
There are very few defenses recognized by law for being charged with a child pornography offense. Some laws provide for mandatory minimum sentences for these offenses. Penalties may also be directly related to the quantity or volume of images or videos that an offender possesses.
The evolution of the internet has enabled to proliferation and sharing of child pornographic materials. Collectors or purveyors of these graphic images are able to network with one another online in order to share and exchange their pornographic materials.
Because in modern society child pornographic materials are most often transferred or acquired via computer, forensic computer searches and search warrants are increased employed by law enforcement to search personal computers for evidence of these illicit materials.
Many of the people who are implicated in child pornography charges either suffer from some form of mental illness or were victims of physical or sexual abuse as children. Understanding mental illness, signs and symptoms, treatment options and the overall impact that such illnesses have on an individual is often integral to defending one charged with child pornography offenses.
Child pornography offenses are among the most egregious and prejudicial crimes known to the law. Convicted offenders can be sentenced to lengthy jail terms. Solely being charged with a Child Pornography Offense, even if not convicted, may have devastating consequences on your life.
These include, but are not limited to:
- being ostracized or discriminated against in your local community;
- fired from your job and denied future employment opportunities;
- denial of housing;
- restrictions against visiting schools or being around children; and
- other adverse consequences.
If you are charged with a Child Pornography Offense, you require expert criminal defense representation by an attorney who is well-versed in this highly sensitive area of the law in order to protect your rights and minimize the impact that being charged with such an offense may have on your life.
If you have been charged with a child pornography offense and need expert legal representation, contact the Rhode Island Criminal Lawyers at the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.