Sexual Exploitation of Children

Have You Been Charged with Sexual Exploitation of Children in Georgia?

Sexually based crimes carry highly negative connotations especially when it involves children. The critical thing to remember is that a charge is not the same as a conviction. There are many steps before you can be convicted so do not give up on your case and just plead guilty. The Law Offices of Lawson and Berry are here to help you! Contact us today and find out how we can assist with your case.

Sexual Exploitation in Georgia

First, it is important to understand the terms of the statute. In Georgia, the term “minor” refers to any person under the age of 18 years old. The term “visual medium” means any film, photograph, negative, slide, magazine, or other visual medium.

There are a number of ways a person can violate O.C.G.A. §16-12-100:

  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in or assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual medium depicting such conduct.
  • It is unlawful for any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor knowingly to permit the minor to engage in or to assist any other person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual medium depicting such conduct.
  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in or assist any other person to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of any performance.
  • It is unlawful for any parent, legal guardian, or person having custody or control of a minor knowingly to permit the minor to engage in or to assist any other person to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of any performance.
  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to create, reproduce, publish, promote, sell, distribute, give, exhibit, or possess with intent to sell or distribute any visual medium which depicts a minor or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.
  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to advertise, sell, purchase, barter, or exchange any medium, which provides information as to where any visual medium, which depicts a minor, or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct can be found or purchased.
  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to bring or cause to be brought into this state any material, which depicts a minor, or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.
  • It is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess or control any material, which depicts a minor, or a portion of a minor's body engaged in any sexually explicit conduct.

Georgia Case Law

In the case of State v. Brown, the Court stated that electronic transmissions constitute a method of distribution as contemplated under the statute. Therefore, electronic transmissions are unlawful means to distribute any visual medium, which depicts a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct. 250 Ga. App. 376, (2001). 

In the case of Weyer v. State, Weyer was convicted of sexually exploitation two 16-year-old girls, the granddaughter of his girlfriend and her cousin. The evidence showed that the granddaughter and her cousin were at grandmother's house spending the night and Weyer was there as well. During the night, Weyer began to request nude photographs of them. One of the girls sent a picture of herself in a bikini and then refused to send any more. He specifically asked for naked pictures of the girls. During the trial, Weyer argued that the photos were not lewd as a matter of law because the girls were shown engaging in nonsexual, innocent acts. However, the Court looked at O.C.G.A. §16-12-100(b)(1), which states that it, is a crime to “entice a minor for the purpose of producing a visual medium depicting sexually explicit conduct.” The statute does not require that the visual medium was ever produced; just that the production of a medium depicting sexually explicit conduct was the intended motivation for the enticement. Therefore, Weyer was convicted of two counts of sexual exploitation of children. 333 Ga. App. 706, (2015).

An Exception to Criminal Prosecution

If a person that is producing or printing material, privately or commercially, has reasonable cause to believe that the material depicts a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct, they must report the incident to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or the law enforcement agency for the county in which the matter is submitted. If a person assists in the making of a report, they will be immune from any civil or criminal liability. 

Defenses in Georgia

The exploitation was for legitimate medical, scientific, or education activities: Evidence that the actions were used for a lawful medical, scientific, or education activity will help demonstrate that a crime was not committed.

The exploitation depicted only themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct: If the material only displayed the person being charged, then no crime has been committed.

The exploitation was done by law enforcement agencies in an investigation: If law enforcement agencies were engaged in an investigation or prosecution of criminal offenses, then this Code section does not apply. 

Penalty for Sexual Exploitation of Children in Georgia

If a person violates subsection (1), (5), (7), or (8) of this Code section, they will be guilty of a misdemeanor if:

  • The minor depicted was at least 14 years old;
  • The medium was created with the permission of the minor; and
  • The accused was 18 years old or younger at the time of the crime; and
  • The medium was not distributed to another person
  • And the medium was not made for the purpose of harassing, intimidating or embarrassing the minor or for any commercial purpose.

Misdemeanor convictions in Georgia carry penalties of fines up to $1,000, jail time up to one year, or both.

For all other sections and situations, a person who violates O.C.G.A. §16-12-100 shall be guilty of a felony. The punishment will include a prison term between five and twenty years and a fine up to $100,000. If the person convicted is a member of the victim's family, no fine will be imposed. The consequences of a felony conviction extend beyond fines and jail time. Felony convictions on your record can make it difficult to obtain employment, housing, or credit.

Contact Us 

A charge for sexual exploitation of children is not one to be taken lightly. Additionally, remember it is not the same as a conviction. There are defenses and ways to achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Contact our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys now for a free case evaluation.

Contact Us Today for Immediate Help

The time is now to start preparing your defense! Many times people lose the opportunity to put on their best defense because they wait. The importance of hiring a lawyer from the very beginning cannot be overstated! Waiting allows for witnesses to leave the area, evidence to be lost, and memories to fade. All of these have a direct effect on the successful on your case. The time to begin your case and start prepping your defense is now! Contact us today to put on your best Georgia criminal defense!

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