The Growing Risks For Children From Child Pornography

A 38-year-old Wisconsin woman was arrested for producing child pornography and for sharing it online with a person in Texas. She is facing a mandatory sentence of 15 years as well as a possible additional 30 years of jail time and a fine of up to $250,000.00. (Jan. 08, 2024).

Commentary and Checklist

Child pornography is a federal and state crime. It exploits children, not only at the time of its creation, but also each time it is published or shared.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, child pornography is "any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law."

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission's 2022 data, in Fiscal Year 2022, there were 1,435 sentences issued by federal judges involving child pornography. Offenses have increased 1.3 percent since FY 2018.

Further, "45.0% of child pornography offenders were sentenced for possessing child pornography; 43.9% were sentenced for trafficking child pornography; and 11.1% were sentenced for receiving child pornography."

The federal government also reports that "98.9 percent of child pornography offenders were men", and "71.3 percent had little or no prior criminal history."

States also have child pornography laws.

What can safe adults to when they discover child pornography?

  • If you find it on someone else's phone or computer, preserve any evidence, if possible.

  • If you find it on the internet, note the name of the website, chat room, or newsgroup where you saw the suspected child pornography.

  • A report can be made online at the NCMEC CyberTipline or via the phone at 1-800-843-5678.

  • If you receive child pornography through unsolicited e-mail, note the sender's screen name and ISP (Internet Service Provider) and forward the entire message (do not copy and paste) to the FBI.

  • DO NOT download the child pornography yourself in order to help the FBI. You may not download such an image to your hard drive, disk, or printer without breaking the law.

  • Rely on law enforcement to conduct the investigation into the crime.

  • Assist authorities with their investigation, if requested.

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