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Child Pornography Penalties

State and Federal Penalties for Child Pornography in Massachusetts

Providing Trusted Legal Defense Services in Massachusetts

Massachusetts state and federal laws prohibit the production, possession, and dissemination of child pornography. These offenses are harshly prosecuted, and violators could face severe penalties, including prison time, fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

If you are under investigation for a child pornography offense, it is crucial to retain the services of a skilled lawyer who can build an effective defense on your behalf.

Our lawyers at Sweeney & Associates, LLC, can provide the aggressive legal representation you need to fight charges brought against you. Backed by over 20 years of combined experience in the criminal justice system, we have a solid understanding of Massachusetts child pornography law and have successfully obtained favorable outcomes for past clients in these types of cases. We are ready to do the same for you.


To schedule your free consultation, call us at (617) 300-0212.

State Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography in Massachusetts

MGL c.272, s.29A – Posing a Child in a State Of Nudity: An individual who poses a nude child or permits a child to engage in an act that depicts sexual conduct for representation or reproduction in visual materials violates this law.

Penalties include:

  • 10 to 20 years in state prison, and/or
  • $10,000 to $50,000 in fines

MGL c.272, s.29B – Dissemination of Child Pornography: A person violates this law by possessing material that depicts a child in a state of nudity or depicts or describes a child participating in sexual conduct and intending to distribute that material.

Penalties include:

  • 10 to 20 years in state prison, and/or
  • $10,000 to $50,000 in fines, or 3 times the amount the person gained from disseminating the material (whichever is greater)

MGL c. 272, s.29C – Possession of Child Pornography: Under this law, it is illegal to possess any visual material that depicts a child engaging in a sexual act.

Penalties for the first offense include:

  • Up to 5 years in state prison, or up to 2 ½ years in jail or house of correction, and/or
  • $1,000 to $10,000 in fines

Penalties for the second offense include:

  • Not less than 5 years in state prison, and/or
  • $5,000 to $20,000 in fines

Penalties for the third, and subsequent, offense include:

  • Not less than 10 years in state prison and/or
  • $10,000 to $30,000 in fines

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Sweeney & Associates, LLC is proud to offer prospective clients a complimentary initial case evaluation. We understand that every case is unique and will take this time to get to know the details of your situation and begin discussing your legal options for achieving the best possible outcome. As we understand that the reputation of you and your family is at stake, this consultation is completely confidential.

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Federal Penalties for Possession of Child Pornography

When a child pornography offense crosses state lines or occurs online or through the mail, the federal government will prosecute. Violation of federal child pornography laws is punishable by imprisonment and/or a fine as determined according to federal sentencing guidelines.

Federal child pornography offenses and penalties include:

18 USC § 2251 – Sexual Exploitation of Children: A person who coerces a minor to engage in or assist in engaging in a sexual act to produce visual materials of the act violates this law. Violators can include parents, guardians, or any other person who has custody of the child and permits the child to participate in sexual conduct.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • 15 to 30 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 25 to 50 years in prison

A conviction for the third, and subsequent, offense is punishable by:

  • 35 years to life in prison

18 USC § 2251A – Selling or Buying of Children: It is a violation under this section for a parent, guardian, or other person with custody of a child to sell or transfer custody to another individual knowing that the sale will result in the child being portrayed in material depicting them engaged in or assisting in sexual conduct. This law also applies to an individual who purchases or obtains custody of the child.

A conviction is punishable by:

  • 30 years to life in prison

18 USC § 2252 – Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors: Under this section, it is unlawful for a person to knowingly transport, receive, distribute, or possess with the intent to sell any materials that depict a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • 5 to 20 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 15 to 40 years in prison

It is also illegal to knowingly possess or access, with the intent to view, materials that depict a child participating in a sexual act.

If the materials involve a child 12 years or older, a conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison

If the materials involved a child under 12 years of age, a conviction is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 10 to 20 years in prison

18 USC § 2252A – Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography: A person who knowingly mails, transports, ships, receives, reproduces, advertises, or promotes visual material that depicts a child engaged in a sexual act could be charged under this section.

This law also applies to an individual who knowingly provides to a minor any material that depicts a child participating in sexually explicit conduct.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • 5 to 20 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 15 to 40 years in prison

Under this section, it is also illegal to possess or access with the intent to view material containing child pornography.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • Up to 10 years in prison

If the material involved a child under 12 years of age, a conviction is punishable by:

  • Up to 20 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 10 to 20 years in prison

It is also illegal under this section to knowingly produce material that depicts an identifiable minor engaged in a sexual act.

A conviction is punishable by:

  • Up to 15 years in prison

18 USC § 2260 – Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation into the United States: It is unlawful for a person to coerce a minor to participate in a sexually explicit act to create visual material that will be transported into the U.S. or within 12 miles of the coast.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • 15 to 30 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 25 to 50 years in prison

A conviction for the third, and subsequent, offense is punishable by:

  • 35 years to life in prison

Under this section, it is also illegal to knowingly receive, transport, distribute, or sell child pornography that will be imported into the U.S. or within 12 miles of its coast.

A conviction for the first offense is punishable by:

  • 5 to 20 years in prison

A conviction for the second offense is punishable by:

  • 15 to 40 years in prison

Legal Defenses Available 24/7 For Child Pornography Charges Throughout Massachusetts

Understanding the seriousness of state and federal penalties for a child pornography conviction, our criminal defense lawyers at Sweeney & Associates, LLC will work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome for your case.

When you retain our services, we will immediately begin crafting a defense for your particular situation and will work toward getting charges reduced or dropped to minimize the effects of a conviction on your life.


To discuss your case with one of our experienced child pornography attorneys, call us at (617) 300-0212 or contact us online.

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