Florida Statutes on Child Pornography

I was ignorant of the Florida Statutes relating to Child Pornorgaphy, but as I read it, I found them to be truly interesting.

The Florida Statute §827.071 defines the sexual performance by a child and a child is defined as being under the age of 18. So a 17 year old is included in this category even if they are only days away from turning 18. This line must be drawn somewhere and the state decided to draw it at the age of 18.  The statute states that a person is guilty of a felony if they knowingly use a child in a sexual performance, or if they employ, authorize or induce a child to engage in a sexual performance. They must have knowledge in order to be found guilty. A person is also guilty if they are a parent, legal guardian, or custodian that consents to the participation by such child in a sexual performance. This generally says that a parent can’t give consent to the use of their child in a sexual performance, and if they do then they will be prosecuted. The possession of three or more copies of a photograph, motion picture, representation, or presentation is prima facie evidence of intent to promote and the person will be guilty of a felony of the second degree. The fact that a person only has 2 copies means that they will not be prosecuted under this statute. Again, a line must be drawn somewhere and the state decided to draw it at 3 copies. I don’t know what the difference between 2 and 3 copies is, but it must have been a big difference to the government. A 15 year-old American girl has been charged with child pornography offences after posting pictures of herself online. The unnamed teenager is accused of sending photos of herself “in various states of undress and performing a variety of sexual acts” to people she met in online chat rooms, AP reports. Police found dozens of inappropriate photos when they seized the girl’s PC. The teenager has been charged with the possession and distribution of child pornography as well as the sexual abuse of children. This seems extreme because she is the one in the pictures. She sounds like she needs some psychological help, but I don’t think that it would be fair to put her in jail. So this case would find that a child can never take appropriate pictures of themselves and post them or send them to someone. I am not agreeing with what she did, but I don’t think that the punishment fits the crime.

The Florida Statute §847.012 defines use of minors in production and selling of sexual explicit materials to minors. A person’s ignorance of a minor’s age, a minor’s misrepresentation of his or her age, a bona fide belief of a minor’s age, or a minor’s consent may not be raised as a defense in a prosecution for a violation of this section (Ignorance is not a defense.) The interest in protecting the child outweighs the person’s interest. I think that this part of the law goes a little too far. A 17 year old who looks like a 21year old should not be held blameless especially if the 17 year old had identification stating that she was 21. There is no way that a person would be able to tell that the 17 year old was not 21.I understand that the state is trying to protect children, but some children act like adults and therefore they should be treated in such a way. If the person actually knows that the person is a minor then there should be no excuses made for them.

This makes me think of the epidemic where all of the teachers were having sex with their students. Christina Gallagher, 26: Jersey City, N.J., woman received no jail time, but was ordered to pay more than $1,000 in fines, sentenced to a lifetime registration as a convicted sex offender and ordered to attend therapy for having sex with a 17-year-old student in late 2004. The former Rahway High School instructor was banned from teaching and seeing the student with whom she had sex. Christine Duda, 39: Teacher at the Normandy Alternative School in St. Louis County, Mo., allegedly took a 16-year-old hearing-impaired male student to her home for sex in December 2005. She was charged with two counts of felony statutory rape and fired by the school district. Christine Scarlett, 36: English teacher at Strongsville High School in Ohio began a sexual relationship with the 17-year-old captain of the football team, Steven Bradigan, in November 2002 and eventually gave birth to Bradigan’s son. Scarlett was fired from her teaching job, but insists nothing improper happened during the time she was Bradigan’s teacher. She was never charged with any criminal wrongdoing.Donna Carr Galloway, 33: Married mother of two found naked in a car with a 17-year-old student. Debra Lafave, 25: Tampa, Fla., area teacher received no jail time despite having sex with her 14-year-old male student in a classroom and her Hillsborough County home. In another county, Marion, she was accused of having sex with the boy in an SUV. LaFave claimed at a March 2006 news conference she had a bipolar disorder. The boy’s father said LaFave should have received prison time in her plea deal, noting, “It’s a horrible, ugly thing that she’s done.”

Under this statute it is also possible for a 17 year old to go to prison for having sex with a 16 year old. It does not state that the person committing the felony must be an adult. Back in 2003, Wilson, was a 17-year-old pupil getting top grades and showing enough promise as a footballer to catch the attention of Ivy League schools. Popular among students and teachers, he was voted Homecoming King, an honour bestowed on a star student or athlete. Today Wilson is two years into a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year old girl at a New Year’s Eve party three years ago. That seems like it is what the government should be focused on and not 2 children who are merely 2 years apart.

A person may not knowingly use a minor in the production of any material regardless of whether the material is intended for distribution to minors or is actually distributed to minors. A person may not knowingly sell, rent, or loan for monetary consideration to a minor: (a) Any picture, photograph, drawing, sculpture, motion picture film, videocassette, or similar visual representation or image of a person or portion of the human body which depicts nudity or sexual conduct, sexual excitement, sexual battery, bestiality, or sadomasochistic abuse and which is harmful to minors; or (b) Any book, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter however reproduced, or sound recording that contains any sexually explicit matter, explicit and detailed verbal descriptions or narrative accounts of sexual excitement, or sexual conduct and that is harmful to minors. People are not allowed to sell sexually explicit material to minors because it might be harmful to them. It might make them think that the sexually explicit material is okay and they may intern start doing those things. We want to keep them as innocent as possible. Even though there is no way around it because of all of the peer pressure in the schools.

The Florida Statute §827.002 defines child pornography prosecutions. It states that any law enforcement officer who recovers images or movies of child pornography shall: a) provide such images or movies to the law enforcement agency representative assigned to the Child Victim Identification Program (CVIP). Any law enforcement officer submitting a case for prosecution which involves the production, promotion, or possession of child pornography shall submit to the designated prosecutor the law enforcement agency contact information provided by the CVIP. The law enforcement officer must comply with the rules that are set by the CVIP. We look to the CVIP because they have more training and experience in the field of Child Pornography. The law enforcement officers don’t have enough resources to keep up with all of the child pornography. They do what they can, but it is best to make sure that someone is working behind them just to be sure that no kids fall through the cracks.

~ by demetreastewart on November 16, 2009.

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