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Child Pornography

Very few criminal accusations carry the immediate impact of child pornography. Even when an alleged offender is merely questioned about a possible child pornography offense, that person can notice a change in the behaviors of his or her friends, family, and co-workers.

A significant amount of child pornography is viewed and shared via the internet, and it is remarkably easy for an innocent person to accidentally download objectionable material as the result of a misleading email or computer virus. Prosecutors in Texas aggressively pursue maximum punishments for these kinds of offenses, and convictions can result in people being sentenced to decades in prison.

Lawyer for Child Pornography Arrests in Fort Worth, TX

Do you think that you might be under investigation or were you already arrested in the DFW area for an alleged child pornography offense? No matter how confident you are in your innocence, you should still refuse to say anything to authorities until you have contacted Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC.

Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth who represent residents and visitors accused of sex crimes in numerous communities in Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Arlington, Fort Worth, Cleburne, Weatherford, and many others. You can have our lawyers review your case and answer all of your legal questions when you call 817-502-3600 to receive a free, confidential consultation.


Tarrant County Child Pornography Crimes Information Center


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Texas Definitions for Child Pornography Charges

Child pornography statutes in Texas contains terms with some very specific terms. Key definitions used in these laws include all of the following:

  • Deviate sexual intercourse — Any contact between the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person. 
  • Sexual contact — Any touching of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
  • Sexual conduct — Sexual contact, actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sado-masochistic abuse, or lewd exhibition of the genitals, the anus, or any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola. 
  • Sexual intercourse — Any penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ.
  • Sexual performance — Any performance or part thereof that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age. 
  • Performance — Any play, motion picture, photograph, dance, or other visual representation that can be exhibited before an audience of one or more persons.
  • Produce — With respect to a sexual performance includes any conduct that directly contributes to the creation or manufacture of the sexual performance. 
  • Promote — To procure, manufacture, issue, sell, give, provide, lend, mail, deliver, transfer, transmit, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, or advertise or to offer or agree to do any of the above.
  • Simulated — The explicit depiction of sexual conduct that creates the appearance of actual sexual conduct and during which a person engaging in the conduct exhibits any uncovered portion of the breasts, genitals, or buttocks. 
  • Visual material — Any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide or any photographic reproduction that contains or incorporates in any manner any film, photograph, videotape, negative, or slide; or any disk, diskette, or other physical medium that allows an image to be displayed on a computer or other video screen and any image transmitted to a computer or other video screen by telephone line, cable, satellite transmission, or other method.
  • Child pornography — An image of a child engaging in sexual conduct or sexual performance. 
  • Commercial mobile service provider — A provider of commercial mobile service as defined by Section 332(d), Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. Section 151 et seq.), Federal Communications Commission rules, and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Pub. L. No. 103-66).
  • Computer technician — An individual who in the course and scope of employment or business installs, repairs, or otherwise services a computer for a fee. 
  • Information service provider — An Internet service provider and hosting service provider.
  • Telecommunications provider — A certificated telecommunications utility; a shared tenant service provider; a nondominant carrier of telecommunications services; a provider of commercial mobile service as defined by Section 332(d), Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. Section 151 et seq.), Federal Communications Commission rules, and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (Public Law 103-66), except that the term does not include these entities for the purposes of Chapter 17, 55, or 64; a telecommunications entity that provides central office based PBX-type sharing or resale arrangements; an interexchange telecommunications carrier; a specialized common carrier; a reseller of communications; a provider of operator services; a provider of customer-owned pay telephone service; or a person or entity determined by the commission to provide telecommunications services to customers in this state. Telecommunications provider does not mean a provider of enhanced or information services, or another user of telecommunications services, who does not also provide telecommunications services; or a state agency or state institution of higher education, or a service provided by a state agency or state institution of higher education.

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Child Pornography Penalties in Tarrant County

People may be charged with any one of the following child pornography charges, depending on their alleged conduct:

Sexual Performance by a Child, Texas Penal Code § 43.25

If, knowing the character and content thereof, an alleged offender employs, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years of age to engage in sexual conduct or a sexual performance, or if a parent or legal guardian or custodian of a child younger than 18 years of age consents to the participation by the child in a sexual performance, he or she commits a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the alleged victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, sexual performance by a child is a first-degree felony punishable by a minimum of five years up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

When an alleged offender, knowing the character and content of the material, produces, directs, or promotes a performance that includes sexual conduct by a child younger than 18 years of age, he or she will be charged with a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the alleged victim is younger than 14 years of age at the time of the alleged offense, it will result in second-degree felony charges.

Under Texas Penal Code § 43.25(f), all of the following are affirmative defenses to prosecution for sexual performance by a child:

  • The alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense;
  • The conduct was for a bona fide educational, medical, psychological, psychiatric, judicial, law enforcement, or legislative purpose; or
  • The alleged offender is not more than two years older than the child.

Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography, Texas Penal Code § 43.26

An alleged offender commits a third-degree felony offense if he or she:

  • Knowingly or intentionally possesses, or knowingly or intentionally accesses with intent to view, visual material that visually depicts a child younger than 18 years of age at the time the image of the child was made who is engaging in sexual conduct, including a child who engages in sexual conduct as a victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8); and
  • Knows that the material depicts the child as described above.

A second conviction is a second-degree felony, and third or subsequent convictions are first-degree felony offenses.

An alleged offender also commits a second-degree felony if he or she knowingly or intentionally promotes or possesses with intent to promote material described above and knows that the material depicts the child as described. Any subsequent conviction is a first-degree felony.

For the purposes of this statue, a person who possesses visual material that contains six or more identical visual depictions of a child as described is presumed to possess the material with the intent to promote the material.

Reporting of Images of Child Pornography, Texas Business and Commerce Code § 110.002

Any computer technician who, in the course and scope of employment or business, views an image on a computer that is or appears to be child pornography is required to immediately report the discovery of the image to a local or state law enforcement agency or the Cyber Tipline at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Failure to report an image in violation of this chapter is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.


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Texas Child Pornography Crime Resources

Tips for Parents on Protecting Your Children Online — Visit this section of the Texas Attorney General’s website to find advice about keeping the internet safe for your children. You can find information that helps you and your family protect your privacy. You can also read how to stay safe when using blogs.

Wise v. State, 364 SW 3d 900 (Tex. Crim. App. 2012) — Jeffrey Shane Wise was a manager at a McDonald's restaurant who occasionally gave a ride home to a 16-year-old employee whom he had multiple sexual encounters with. The teenager took pictures of herself naked on a digital camera and on Wise's cell phone and gave them to him, but those photos were among the evidence seized during a search of Wise’s home. A grand jury indicted Wise for four counts of sexual assault (counts one through four of the indictment), 11 counts of possession of child pornography (count five and counts eight through 17), and two counts of indecency with a child (counts six and seven). Wise pleaded not guilty to all counts, but the jury convicted him of committing 16 of the 17 acts alleged in the indictment. The Second Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's judgment on counts one through six and reversed the trial court's judgment with respect to counts eight through seventeen, rendering a judgment of acquittal on those child pornography counts. On April 25, 2012, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and rendered a judgment affirming the trial court, concluding that “the majority opinion misapplied the standard of review for sufficiency by focusing on the possible alternative explanations, rather than determining whether the jury's inference was reasonable based upon the cumulative force of all the evidence when considered in the light most favorable to the verdict.”


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Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Child Pornography Defense Attorney

If you were arrested or believe that you could be under investigation for an alleged child pornography offense anywhere in the DFW area, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC defends individuals in Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, Cleburne, and many surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County.

Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes can review every aspect of your case and determine if any illegal searches or seizures may lead to criminal charges being reduced or dismissed. Call 817-502-3600 or complete an online form to have our attorneys provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.


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