Endangering the Welfare of a Child; NJ Child Pornography Charges

In 1998, the Legislature expanded the scope of the specific offenses directed against the sexual exploitation of children in photographs and films. Offenses which had been directed at the parent or person charged with custody of the child are no longer that limited. The statute now applies to any person who does the prohibited conduct. The offense has also been extended to encompass images and simulations on the Internet. “Internet” means the international computer network of both federal and non-federal interoperable packet switched data networks.

Endangering by Causing or Permitting Child to Engage in Certain Conduct

A person commits a first degree crime of Endangering the Welfare of a Child if he causes or permits a child to engage in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of such an act. The person must know, have reason to know or intend that the prohibited act be photographed, filmed, reproduced or reconstructed in any manner including on the Internet or be part of an exhibition or performance.

The prohibited acts encompassed are sexual intercourse, anal intercourse, masturbation, bestiality, sadism, masochism, fellatio, cunnilingus, or nudity if depicted for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any person who may view such depiction, or any act sexual penetration or sexual contact. Where a defendant admits that he surreptitiously videotaped a nude child for his gratification, the State still must prove that the defendant caused or permitted the juvenile to do a sexual act or simulation to be found guilty of Endangering the Welfare of a Child. A defendant who tapes a juvenile sleeping, dressing and undressing, bathing and attending to her personal needs is not guilty of a second-degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child charge.

The crime is elevated to a first degree crime if the defendant is either the parent, guardian or another person legally charged with the care or custody of the child.

Is the Photographer of Child Pornography Guilty of Endangering a Child?

It is also a second degree crime if the defendant photographs or films a child in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of the sexual act. It is also prohibited to use any device including a computer to reproduce or reconstruct the image of a child in such a sexual act. Proof that the child is under 18 years of age is a material element of the offense in addition to proof that the defendant actually photographed or filmed the child in a prohibited sexual act or simulation of the sexual act.

Sale, Manufacture and Distribution of Child Pornography in NJ

In addition the person who knowingly receives for purpose of selling or who sells, procures, manufactures, gives, provides, lends, trades, mails, delivers, transfers, publishes, distributes or circulates, disseminates, presents, exhibits, advertises offers or agrees to offer any photograph, film, video tape or any other reproduction including on the Internet which depicts a child engaging in the prohibited sexual act or in simulation of such act is guilty of a crime of the second degree.

Any person charged with Endangering the Welfare of a Child or any other Child Pornography related offense should immediately seek the assistance of an experienced cybercrime defense attorney. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall can be reached 24/7 at 1 (800) 879-9087, and will be able to provide a free, confidential case evaluation.