• Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

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Sexual exploitation of a minor is one of the most serious charges that can be brought against a person. Both federal and state courts aggressively prosecute those accused of sex crimes involving minors. If you have been accused of any sex crime with a minor, including sexual exploitation or child pornography charges, you need to prove that you are not guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt to avoid lengthy imprisonment and lifelong ostracization.

Call the Fort Worth sex crimes attorneys at Westfall Sellers, who are just as passionate about justice as they are compassionate toward their clients.

What is sexual exploitation of a minor?

Sexual exploitation of a minor constitutes grievous charges at the state and federal level. Texas has laws pertaining to child pornography under Texas Penal Code § 43.25, specifically called “sexual performance by a child.” A person commits the offense if:

  • Knowing the character and content thereof, they employ, authorize, or induce a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual activity or a sexual performance
  • A parent or legal guardian or custodian of a child younger than 18 years of age consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance

Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a federal offense that references a range of crimes that involve sexual abuse or exploitation of children for financial benefit or exchange for anything of value. While CSEC is not defined by any federal statute, some crimes that constitute commercial sexual exploitation of a child are:

  • Child sex trafficking
  • Child sex tourism
  • Commercial production of child pornography
  • Online transmission of video of a child engaged in sexually explicit activity in exchange for anything of value

Sexting

On the other side of the spectrum of those who distribute or transport minors to perform sexual acts are those who may engage, even unwittingly, in electronic communication that encourages children to perform sexually explicit activity.

Sexting, along with social media and the internet as a whole, are major reasons why child exploitation charges have become much more commonplace. The perceived anonymity of the internet makes people of all ages do reckless and harmful things, and inviting a minor to take a sexually explicit photo electronically is no different from asking them to do it in person. Sexting laws in Texas are already severe, but can quickly lead to charges for other sex crimes, like possession or promotion of child pornography, sexual exploitation charges, or sexual abuse charges.

Continue reading: Is sexual harassment sexual abuse?

Penalties for sexual exploitation of a minor

How long is a sentence for child exploitation? The severity of punishment for sex crimes will vary significantly depending on the specific crime alleged and the prosecuting court.

With federal charges, you can expect time in federal prison despite the severity of the charge, with trafficking representing much more time than child pornography. In Texas, sexual performance by a minor is a second degree felony. It could be upgraded to a first degree felony—which can net you up to life in prison—if the child is under the age of 14.

Being accused of a sex crime is serious business

Whether you were falsely accused of inappropriate touching or were unsure of the age of sexual consent in Texas, almost all sex crimes, even those that are committed without intent, are automatically felonies under state and federal law. Being accused of a sex crime will brand a person for life. If you are convicted of a sex crime you are unlikely to be very popular in prison, and if you get out you can expect your past to burden you forever.

What you can count on regardless of the charge, court, or jail time is a lifetime on the sex offender registry. Being convicted of a sex crime will cast a shadow over your life that follows you even after release from prison. Once outside, you’ll likely face restrictions that limit where you’re allowed to live and work.

If you have been accused of a sex crime, your only chance at getting your life back is proving that you are not guilty, and to do that, you’ll need the best lawyer that you can possibly get.

Accused of sexual exploitation of a minor? Your lawyer might be your only lifeline

Sexual exploitation of a minor, along with all other sex crimes in Texas, are prosecuted aggressively and severely. If you plan on walking away with your life intact, you need a lawyer with experience and extreme compassion.

The sex crimes lawyers at Westfall Sellers have a track record of pursuing justice and breaking through barriers in even the most sensitive cases. Keep your family and friends, your reputation, and your life. Call Westfall Sellers today at (817) 928-4222 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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