CHAPTER TWO - PART G - OFFENSES INVOLVING COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINORS, AND OBSCENITY

2. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR

§2G2.1. Sexually Exploiting a Minor by Production of Sexually Explicit Visual or Printed Material; Custodian Permitting Minor to Engage in Sexually Explicit Conduct; Advertisement for Minors to Engage in Production

(a) Base Offense Level: 32

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the offense involved a minor who had (A) not attained the age of twelve years, increase by 4 levels; or (B) attained the age of twelve years but not attained the age of sixteen years, increase by 2 levels.

(2) (Apply the greater) If the offense involved—

(A) the commission of a sexual act or sexual contact, increase by 2 levels; or

(B) (i) the commission of a sexual act; and (ii) conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) or (b), increase by 4 levels.

(3) If the offense involved distribution, increase by 2 levels.

(4) If the offense involved material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, increase by 4 levels.

(5) If the defendant was a parent, relative, or legal guardian of the minor involved in the offense, or if the minor was otherwise in the custody, care, or supervisory control of the defendant, increase by 2 levels.

(6) If, for the purpose of producing sexually explicit material or for the purpose of transmitting such material live, the offense involved (A) the knowing misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage sexually explicit conduct; or (B) the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to (i) persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, or to otherwise solicit participation by a minor in such conduct; or (ii) solicit participation with a minor in sexually explicit conduct, increase by 2 levels.

(c) Cross Reference

(1) If the victim was killed in circumstances that would constitute murder under 18 U.S.C. § 1111 had such killing taken place within the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of the United States, apply §2A1.1 (First Degree Murder), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(d) Special Instruction

(1) If the offense involved the exploitation of more than one minor, Chapter Three, Part D (Multiple Counts) shall be applied as if the exploitation of each minor had been contained in a separate count of conviction.

Commentary

Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591, 2251(a)-(c), 2251(d)(1)(B), 2260(a).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:

    “Computer” has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(1).

    “Distribution” means any act, including possession with intent to distribute, production, transmission, advertisement, and transportation, related to the transfer of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor. Accordingly, distribution includes posting material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor on a website for public viewing but does not include the mere solicitation of such material by a defendant.

    “Interactive computer service” has the meaning given that term in section 230(e)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2)).

    “Material” includes a visual depiction, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256.

    “Minor” means (A) an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years; (B) an individual, whether fictitious or not, who a law enforcement officer represented to a participant (i) had not attained the age of 18 years, and (ii) could be provided for the purposes of engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or (C) an undercover law enforcement officer who represented to a participant that the officer had not attained the age of 18 years.

    “Sexually explicit conduct” has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2).

2. Application of Subsection (b)(2).—For purposes of subsection (b)(2):

    “Conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) or (b)” is: (i) using force against the minor; (ii) threatening or placing the minor in fear that any person will be subject to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping; (iii) rendering the minor unconscious; or (iv) administering by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of the minor, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of the minor to appraise or control conduct. This provision would apply, for example, if any dangerous weapon was used or brandished, or in a case in which the ability of the minor to appraise or control conduct was substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol.

    “Sexual act” has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2246(2).

    “Sexual contact” has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2246(3).

3. Application of Subsection (b)(5).—

(A) In General.—Subsection (b)(5) is intended to have broad application and includes offenses involving a minor entrusted to the defendant, whether temporarily or permanently. For example, teachers, day care providers, baby-sitters, or other temporary caretakers are among those who would be subject to this enhancement. In determining whether to apply this adjustment, the court should look to the actual relationship that existed between the defendant and the minor and not simply to the legal status of the defendant-minor relationship.

(B) Inapplicability of Chapter Three Adjustment.—If the enhancement in subsection (b)(5) applies, do not apply §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

4. Application of Subsection (b)(6).—

(A) Misrepresentation of Participant’s Identity.—The enhancement in subsection (b)(6)(A) applies in cases involving the misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing sexually explicit material or for the purpose of transmitting such material live. Subsection (b)(6)(A) is intended to apply only to misrepresentations made directly to a minor or to a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement in subsection (b)(6)(A) would not apply to a misrepresentation made by a participant to an airline representative in the course of making travel arrangements for the minor.

    The misrepresentation to which the enhancement in subsection (b)(6)(A) may apply includes misrepresentation of a participant’s name, age, occupation, gender, or status, as long as the misrepresentation was made with the intent to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing sexually explicit material or for the purpose of transmitting such material live. Accordingly, use of a computer screen name, without such intent, would not be a sufficient basis for application of the enhancement.

(B) Use of a Computer or an Interactive Computer Service.—Subsection (b)(6)(B) provides an enhancement if the offense involved the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing sexually explicit material or for the purpose of transmitting such material live or otherwise to solicit participation by a minor in such conduct for such purposes. Subsection (b)(6)(B) is intended to apply only to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to communicate directly with a minor or with a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement would not apply to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to obtain airline tickets for the minor from an airline’s Internet site.

5. Application of Subsection (d)(1).—For the purposes of Chapter Three, Part D (Multiple Counts), each minor exploited is to be treated as a separate minor. Consequently, multiple counts involving the exploitation of different minors are not to be grouped together under §3D1.2 (Groups of Closely Related Counts). Subsection (d)(1) directs that if the relevant conduct of an offense of conviction includes more than one minor being exploited, whether specifically cited in the count of conviction or not, each such minor shall be treated as if contained in a separate count of conviction.

6. Upward Departure Provision.—An upward departure may be warranted if the offense involved more than 10 minors.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 161); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 324); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 400); November 1, 1996 (see Appendix C, amendment 537); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 575); November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendment 592); May 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 612); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 627); November 1, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 661); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 664); November 1, 2009 (see Appendix C, amendments 733, 736, and 737).