Child Enticement Laws in Georgia

In Georgia, a person commits the crime of “child enticement” by tempting or luring a child (in person or by electronic means, such as internet chat rooms or social media websites) to engage in child pornography or other sexual conduct.

To learn more about child enticement generally, see What is the Crime of "Child Enticement?"

Child enticement is a broad term that can cover several different crimes, including kidnapping, sexual molestation, child prostitution, and child pornography. Each state has its own definition of child enticement and defines and punishes the underlying crimes differently.

Indecent Purposes

Under Georgia’s laws, a person commits the crime of enticing a child for indecent purposes by taking, luring, or soliciting a child under the age of 16 to any place for the purpose of child molestation or indecent (lewd or sexual) acts.

(O.C.G.A. § 16-6-5.)

No indecent act or child molestation needs to occur, or even be attempted, so long as the defendant enticed the child with the intention of committing a sexual act. If a sexual act does occur, the defendant can be charged with child molestation in addition to enticement.

For example, a person who asked an eight-year-old neighbor to come over with the intention of molesting the child could be convicted of enticement, even if the child went home before any abuse occurred.

Enticement Online

Under Georgia’s Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007, it is also a crime for a person to use an online service (such as a chat room, instant message, or email account) or an electronic device (such as a computer, smart phone, or flash drive) to lure or solicit a child under the age of 16 (or a person the defendant believes is a child) to engage in any illegal sexual act, such as child molestation.

(O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(d).)

For example, a person who via email invites an undercover officer posing as a 15-year-old child to come to the defendant’s home and engage in sexual activity could be convicted of online enticement.

Obscene contact

A person also commits a crime in Georgia by using an online service to contact a child under the age of 16 (or a person the defendant believes is a child) and engage in sexually explicit talk.

A conviction for obscene online contact cannot be supported only by the testimony of the child. There must be some other evidence against the defendant.

(O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.2(e).)

Child Pornography

In Georgia, it is also a crime to lure, coerce, persuade, or use a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing digital images, film, video, photographs, or any other visual media or for a performance.

(O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.)

Punishment

Enticing a child for indecent purposes is a felony, punishable by ten to 30 years in prison. If the child is 14 or 15 years old, and the defendant is younger than 19 years old and not more than four years older than the victim, then the crime is punishable as a misdemeanor by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Enticing a child online is a felony, punishable by one to twenty years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000. If the child is 14 or 15 years old, and the defendant is not more than three years older than the child, then the crime is punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor by up to twelve months in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Obscene contact is also a felony, punishable by one to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. If the child is 14 or 15 years old, and the defendant is not more than three years older than the child, then the crime is punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor.

Child pornography is also a felony, punishable by five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. If the defendant is a member of the victim’s immediate family, then no fine is imposed.

(O.C.G.A. § § 16-6-5, 16-12-100, 16-12-100.2(d) and (e), 17-10-3, 17-10-4.)

Forfeiture

Forfeiture is the seizure of property by the state without any compensation to the owner. People who entice a child to make child pornography in Georgia must also forfeit any:

  • child pornography
  • money earned from child pornography, and
  • property used (or intended to be used) to make pornography.

(O.C.G.A. § 16-12-100.)

For general information on forfeiture, see Forfeiting Property in a Federal Criminal Case.

Obtaining Legal Assistance and Counsel

Being convicted of a sex offense against a child can have serious and lasting consequences. If you are charged with child enticement or a similar crime, you should contact a Georgia criminal defense attorney today. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and obtain the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

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