Child Enticement Laws in West Virginia
The term “child enticement” usually means luring children, often across the Internet, to engage in sexual activities or be part of child pornography.
Child enticement is an umbrella term that can encompass several discrete crimes, often including offenses like child pornography, prostitution, and kidnapping. These behaviors are illegal in all states, but each state has its own definitions and penalties for the underlying crimes.
To learn more about child enticement generally, see What is the crime of "Child Enticement?"
In West Virginia, “child enticement” may encompass one or more of the topics described below. (A minor is defined as someone younger than 18 years old, unless specified otherwise below.)
Soliciting a Minor via Computer
It is illegal for an adult to knowingly use a computer to solicit, entice, seduce, or lure (or attempt to solicit, entice, seduce, or lure) a minor whom the adult knows or believes to be at least four years younger than the adult, to engage in any illegal act (including but not limited to sexual activities).
(W.Va. Ann. Code § 61-3C-14b.)
It is illegal for an adult to knowingly and intentionally produce, possess, display, or distribute child pornography in any form. This includes any portrayals of minors who are partially clothed, and which are unrelated to the sale of a commercially available legal product, and used for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
It is also a crime to use a minor in filming sexually explicit conduct, or to cause a minor to engage in the production of child pornography. This crime also applies to parents or guardians who allow the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, knowing that it will be recorded.
(W.Va. Ann. Code § 61-8C-3a & 61-8C-2.)
Using Obscene Materials
It is a crime for an adult to distribute (or offer to distribute) materials that the adult knows are obscene to a minor, with the purpose of seducing or sexually abusing the minor.
(W.Va. Ann. Code § 61-8A-4.)
In West Virginia, the punishment for child abuse and sex crimes may include harsh fines, long prison terms, or both.
Soliciting a minor via computer is a felony, and incurs a fine of up to $5,000, at least two (and up to ten) years in prison, or both.
Child pornography production, possession, display, or distribution is a misdemeanor, which incurs up to $1,000 in fines, up to one year in jail, or both.
Using minors in filming pornography (or knowingly allowing a minor to engage in this behavior) is a felony, and incurs up to $10,000 in fines, up to ten years in prison, or both.
Use of obscene matter with intent to seduce a minor is a felony, which incurs up to $25,000 in fines, up to five years in prison or both. Second and subsequent convictions incur a fine of up to $50,000, up to ten years in prison, or both.
Getting Legal Advice and Counsel
If you are charged with a crime involving child enticement or a related crime, you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.