Can a child receive child pornography charges?

Yes, and the consequences can be serious with significant impact on the child’s future. Although it is a controversial legal issue, there have been cases in which minors have faced child pornography charges. High school students in particular have been accused of “sexting,” otherwise known as sending sexually explicit images of themselves to other minors.

Minors may consider sexting or sending such images by email to their friends as no big deal since it is consensual. However, children can be arrested under New York’s current child pornography laws. A child can be charged if they “knowingly distribute, offer, send or provide to a minor any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture or computer-generated image” showing “a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

Minors can be sentenced to at least five years in federal prison. Additionally, if a child has a prior conviction for such offenses, the penalties are likely to be more severe.

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