Crimes Against Children
Under 18 U.S.C. § 2251, certain types of Child Pornography are punishable by imprisonment of not less than 15 years and up to 30 years if the criminal depictions are transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
The attorneys at the Oberheiden, P.C. provide experienced, aggressive legal representation for individuals charged with child sex crimes across the country. This includes defending individuals charged with child sexual abuse, child pornography, and child prostitution.
Child Sexual Abuse Explained
Federal Child Sexual Abuse Laws
While there are federal statutes that provide severe penalties for sexual abuse of children, they apply only to abuses occurring on federal lands such as military bases, Native American territories, and other government-owned areas. However, when these laws apply, those accused of criminal misconduct can face severe punishment up to and including several years in federal prison. If you are facing federal child sex abuse charges, you can read more in the Department of Justice’s Citizen’s Guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Sexual Abuse or contact us for more information.
State Child Sexual Abuse Laws
As a result of the federal government’s jurisdictional limitations, most child sex abuse crimes are prosecuted under state law. In Texas, as in most other states, child sexual abuse is considered an extremely serious offense.
Texas law defines child sexual abuse as, “any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child.” Conduct that can lead to child sex abuse charges includes:
- Lewd exposure
- Oral copulation
- Penetration with a foreign object
- Compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct
Child pornography and prostitution are charged as sex abuse crimes in Texas as well.
In any case, it is not a defense to claim that the child consented to the act, or to assert that the act was performed with a lack of force or coercion. Any sexual act committed with a child defined as a person younger than 17 years of age under Texas law can be charged as a criminal offense. There are defenses available, but asserting them effectively requires a thorough understanding of the statutory and Constitutional principles involved with child sex abuse crimes.
Defending Against Child Sex Crime Charges
Law enforcement agencies across the country have made pursuing child sex offenders a top priority, and prosecutors fight hard to obtain maximum sentences for individuals accused of child-related crimes. As a result, if you are facing charges of child sexual abuse, child pornography, child prostitution, or any other child-related offense, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. At Oberheiden, P.C., we offer free, confidential consultations, and we fight tirelessly to obtain the best possible outcome in each and every case.
Penalties for Child Sexual Abuse
In most cases, child sex abuse is a second-degree felony carrying a two to a 20-year jail sentence. However, if the prosecutor presses charges for aggravated child sex abuse, the sentencing guidelines call for a term of incarceration from five to 99 years. Repeated sexual abuse of a child or multiple children is a first-degree felony in Texas punishable by a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 99 years or life in prison.
Unlike the federal child sex abuse statutes that are limited in their applicability, federal laws against child pornography apply to virtually all situations involving this discomforting crime. Child pornography laws seek to punish everyone involved, from the producers to people who view child pornography in their homes. Read more about facing charges for child pornography.
Importantly, even though Texas’s child sex abuse and child pornography laws only apply to children under the age of 17, you can still face federal charges in the State for producing, transmitting, or viewing pornography that depicts minors up to 18 years of age.
Child Prostitution and Sex Trafficking
Child prostitution and sex trafficking are also prosecuted under both state and federal law. In Texas, these crimes fall under the umbrella of child sexual abuse. On the federal side, there are two main statutes that apply: the Mann Act and 18 U.S.C. Section 1591.
Section 1591 makes it a federal offense to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, or provide a minor for any “commercial sex act.” The statute defines a “commercial sex act” to include not only sex acts in exchange for money, but in exchange for goods, personal benefit, in-kind favors, or anything else of potential value. Section 1591 also covers child sex trafficking, which may be prosecuted under the Mann Act as well. Read more about the Mann Act.
Penalties for child prostitution can range from a 10 to 15-year prison sentence all the way up to life behind bars. A conviction under the Mann Act can add decades to your sentence. If you are facing state or federal child prostitution or sex trafficking charges, we encourage you to contact us right away to discuss the severity of your situation.
Contact Us to Start Building Your Defense Today
To speak with one of our attorneys about your charges, call our law offices (888) 727-5154 or contact us online today.
Dr. Nick Oberheiden is a national litigation and trial criminal defense attorney who practices exclusively in the area of federal law.