What is Considered Child Pornography?

Child pornography refers to any material of a sexual nature involving a child under the age of 18 Production, possession, and receipt of child pornography are illegal under state law, federal law, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Viewing child pornography is also illegal under military law. The age component applies even in jurisdictions where it is lawful to have sex with someone under18.

A military member facing allegations related to child pornography can be accused of violating both Article 92 of the UCMJ and Article 134 of the UCMJ.

Article 92 directs that a service member who is derelict in the performance of his duties or who fails to obey a lawful order or regulation may be punished as directed by a court martial.

Article 134 states that “All disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.” By its nature, a child pornography offense is considered to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

Computers, memory devices, mobile phones, photographs, and videos are among the types of evidence used to substantiate child pornography allegations.

Punishment for child pornography offenses in the military can pose a threat of significantly greater punishment than the same conduct would have gotten in civilian jurisdictions. The Department of Defense explains that “Many sexual abuse offenses under title 18, United States Code, have statutory punishments to confinement that are significant lower than what the UCMJ authorizes.”

In addition to sex offender registration, a military member convicted of a child pornography offense could be given a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a lengthy term of confinement.

It is important to have a civilian military defense lawyer who is highly experienced with this kind of case representing you as you respond to accusations involving child pornography.

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