New Jersey expands child pornography definition; increases penalties

Man arrested on child pornography charges in Malakand

A new law that went into effect on Feb. 1, 2018 in New Jersey seeks to ensure that individuals found in possession of child pornography are consistently charged and convicted, and to ensure that all types of content where children are exploited fall under the definition of child pornography.

The law, dubbed the “Child Erotica” law, extends the definition of child pornography to include any photograph or video that portrays children sexually or being exploited, not just ones where children are nude. Additionally, the law allows prosecutors to charge individuals who knowingly conspired to create and maintain a child pornography distribution network as leaders of a child pornography distribution network – which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $150,000 fine.

“These changes in the law were designed to eliminate what law enforcement considered loopholes in the child pornography law,” said John B. Fabriele, a New Jersey Sex Crimes Attorney. “What this change will also do is open up individuals to more serious charges than they would have otherwise seen due to the fact that some of the content that they might not consider ‘pornographic’ now falls under the definition.” If an individual has in excess of 100,000 items of child pornography, they are immediately exposed to higher possible fines and punishments.

Under the previous child pornography laws, individuals charged were often able to avoid serious jail time and harsh penalties; many were only given probation. The new law will greatly increase the likelihood that an individual caught possessing child pornography is punished. Additionally, the new law will allow prosecutors to charge individuals earlier, before they are able to become super-possessors of more elicit forms of child pornography.

“Possession of child pornography charges are serious, and they are taken seriously by prosecutors,” said John B. Fabriele. “The jailtime and financial penalties associated with these charges are hefty, and the stigma associated with the charges and convictions rightfully follow those that are guilty for decades.” When the guilty are charged and convicted, it is a win for those children that are or would be subject to exploitation.