Is it is a crime for a person to accidentally look on-line atpornography that contains minors?

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Is it is a crime for a person to accidentally look on-line atpornography that contains minors?

I’m curious if it is a crime for a person to accidentally look at pornography on-line that contains minors. What if this pornography did not advertise itself as having minors but having “teens”? What if the age of the people is not easily discerned?

Asked on May 17, 2011 under Criminal Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically, criminal liability requires a criminal state of mind. This is usually found in acting intentionally or willfully, but could also be inferred from other circumstances--such as continuing to do something when a normal reasonable  person would not. (e.g. "willful blindness" to wrongdoing is not a defense.) In the case which you describe, it may well be concluded that "teens" are "minors"--after all, teens are ages 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19--and only 18 or 19 are not minors for pornographic purposes. Thus, 2/3 of the possible "teens" are minors, so it may be difficult to show, for example, that you should not have known that there were minors on the site.


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