Under both Ohio and federal law, it is a crime to possess child pornography.
Under federal law (18 U.S.C. 2252), it is a criminal offense to knowingly possess, manufacture, distribute, or access with intent to view, child pornography. In a related statute (18 U.S.C. 2256), child pornography is defined as a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. Under federal law, there is a mandatory minimum of 5 years imprisonment for receipt of child pornography, and Congress recently significantly increased the maximum prison sentence for child pornography crimes.
Under Ohio law, it is a crime to pander obscenity involving a minor (R.C. 2907.321); to pander sexually oriented matter involving a minor (R.C. 2907.322); or to use a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performance (R.C. 2907.323). Depending on whether the offender’s involvement was limited to mere possession of the material, these offenses can range from 5th degree to 2nd degree felonies, with maximum sentences ranging from 1 to 8 years imprisonment.
Recent examples of persons charged with these offenses include a 15-year-old Newark, Ohio girl who was arrested and charged with sending (sexting) a nude photo of herself to other minors. She faced a felony charge for illegally using a minor in a nudity oriented material.
In January of 2010, a Cleveland man was sentenced by the United States District Court in the Northern District of Ohio to 120 months imprisonment for possession of child pornography.
In April of 2011, a former Columbus physician was sentenced by the United States District Court in the Southern District of Ohio to 27 months in prison in violation of federal statutes governing the possession of child pornography.
A recent article published in the Hastings Journal of Law indicated that surveys show it is not unusual to see federal sentences from between 10 to 20 years imprisonment for possession of child pornography.
If you are under investigation for, or charged with, possession of child pornography under either Ohio or federal law, contact one of our Columbus criminal defense lawyers for advice on how we can best represent your legal interests.