Sex Crimes -

       The term sex offenses can refer to a considerable range of sex crimes in California, from offenses against another adult to offenses against children to offenses that involve pictures of children.

       Most people think of sex crimes as rape, forced oral copulation and child molest. Under Magan's Law, these offenders who are guilty of such offenses are generally required to register with the Department of Justice and they may end up on the Internet web site under Megan's Law. However, there are a lot of other common sex offenses that most people don't normally think of, such as Internet solicitation, indecent exposure and sexual assault/battery.

Statistics and the Sex Offender

       The Office of the Attorney General provides a variety of information and statisticsconcerning sex offenders and the crime. For example, 90% of child victims know the person who is molesting them with almost half of them being a family member. Most molesters use deception and enticement (referred to as grooming) rather than force or fear.

       The Attorney General maintains a web site that offers advice to parents and teenagers concerning How to Protect Yourself and Your Family. This information can be located in Megan's Law website.

Child Pornography

       Yet another current category of focused police activity would be the area of child pornography. Many people would argue that merely possessing photographs or depictions of minors should not be regulated by the state. In New York v Ferber (1982) 458 U.S. 747, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that "child pornography" is not protected by the First Amendment.

What is the Obscenity Law?

       Child pornography is a part of California's obscenity law. Penal Code §311 defines "Obscene matter" as matter, when taken as a whole, to the average person, applying contemporary statewide standards, appeals to the prurient interest. That is further defined as matter, when taken as a whole, depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value. The reach of the statute in terms of who can be prosecuted is anyone who sends it or brings it into the state, or possesses it, or develops it or duplicates it or prints it or has it on the computer with intent to exchange it or offers to share it can be prosecuted for a felony, with a prison commitment of up to three years.

- Written by , Attorney at Law





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