Is it child porn? Sex crimes laws in Maryland may say ‘no’

Is it child porn? Sex crimes laws in Maryland may say ‘no’

Maryland residents may be surprised to learn that the state’s definition
of child pornography does not necessarily include all nude photographs
of children. The revelation came after a group of middle-school girls
sent nude photographs of themselves to other children. The recipients
are accused of distributing the images on Instagram and through other
platforms. School officials in Anne Arundel County have not announced
whether they have decided to discipline the students allegedly involved
with the incident. Further, authorities say that the youngsters did not
necessarily commit
sex offenses by distributing the images.

Maryland’s definition of child pornography concedes that simple nudity
does not make the image pornographic. Rather, the child in the photograph
must be involved in actual sexual activity. It is important to note that
sex crimes definitions — including those for child pornography —
vary significantly from state to state. Although 17 states have passed
laws against certain types of “sexting,” Maryland has not.

Still, it appears that the state is attempting to tighten some of its sex
crimes regulations. Cyber-bullying laws have gone into effect in recent
months. A “revenge porn” law is also being considered by state
lawmakers. Legislators have not mentioned any intent to tighten the law
for youngsters who are sending illicit photographs to each other, however.
One area prosecutor said that families should be in charge of preventing
such practices; the law cannot do much unless the image actually qualifies
as child pornography.

A Maryland attorney may be able to help criminal defendants who are facing
charges for possession of child pornography. It is critical to first determine
whether the images can even be considered child pornography under state
statute. This critical distinction may have a significant impact on the
outcome of some criminal cases in Maryland.

Source: WYPR 88.1 FM, “Why Middle School Sexting Is Not Considered Child Porn In Maryland” Mary Rose Madden, Apr. 02, 2014