CHAPTER TWO - OFFENSE CONDUCT


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


2.      SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A MINOR


§2G2.2.     Trafficking in Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Receiving, Transporting, Shipping, Soliciting, or Advertising Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor; Possessing Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor with Intent to Traffic; Possessing Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

(a)       Base Offense Level:

(1)       18, if the defendant is convicted of 18 U.S.C. § 1466A(b), § 2252(a)(4), § 2252A(a)(5), or § 2252A(a)(7).

(2)       22, otherwise.

(b)      Specific Offense Characteristics

(1)       If (A) subsection (a)(2) applies; (B) the defendant's conduct was limited to the receipt or solicitation of material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor; and (C) the defendant did not intend to traffic in, or distribute, such material, decrease by 2 levels.

(2)       If the material involved a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained the age of 12 years, increase by 2 levels.

(3)       (Apply the greatest)  If the offense involved:

(A)       Distribution for pecuniary gain, increase by the number of levels from the table in §2B1.1 (Theft, Property Destruction, and Fraud) corresponding to the retail value of the material, but by not less than 5 levels.

(B)       Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt, of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain, increase by 5 levels.

(C)       Distribution to a minor, increase by 5 levels. 

(D)       Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in any illegal activity, other than illegal activity covered under subdivision (E), increase by 6 levels.

(E)        Distribution to a minor that was intended to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 7 levels.

(F)        Distribution other than distribution described in subdivisions (A) through (E), 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 engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor, increase by 5 levels.

(6)       If the offense involved the use of a computer or an interactive computer service for the possession, transmission, receipt, or distribution of the material, or for accessing with intent to view the material, increase by 2 levels.

(7)       If the offense involved—

(A)       at least 10 images, but fewer than 150, increase by 2 levels;

(B)       at least 150 images, but fewer than 300, increase by 3 levels;

(C)       at least 300 images, but fewer than 600, increase by 4 levels; and

(D)       600 or more images, increase by 5 levels.

(c)       Cross Reference

(1)       If the offense involved causing, transporting, permitting, or offering or seeking by notice or advertisement, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, apply §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), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.


Commentary

Statutory Provisions:  18 U.S.C. §§ 1466A, 2252, 2252A(a)-(b), 2260(b).

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.

"Distribution for pecuniary gain" means distribution for profit.

"Distribution for the receipt, or expectation of receipt, of a thing of value, but not for pecuniary gain" means any transaction, including bartering or other in-kind transaction, that is conducted for a thing of value, but not for profit.  "Thing of value" means anything of valuable consideration.  For example, in a case involving the bartering of child pornographic material, the "thing of value" is the child pornographic material received in exchange for other child pornographic material bartered in consideration for the material received.

"Distribution to a minor" means the knowing distribution to an individual who is a minor at the time of the offense.  

"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.

"Pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor" means any combination of two or more separate instances of the sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a minor by the defendant, whether or not the abuse or exploitation (A) occurred during the course of the offense; (B) involved the same minor; or (C) resulted in a conviction for such conduct. 

"Prohibited sexual conduct" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse).

"Sexual abuse or exploitation" means any of the following:  (A) conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241, § 2242, § 2243, § 2251(a)‑(c), § 2251(d)(1)(B), § 2251A, § 2260(b), § 2421, § 2422, or § 2423; (B) an offense under state law, that would have been an offense under any such section if the offense had occurred within the special maritime or territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or (C) an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses under subdivisions (A) or (B).  "Sexual abuse or exploitation" does not include possession, accessing with intent to view, receipt, or trafficking in material relating to the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor.

2.      Application of Subsection (b)(4).—Subsection (b)(4) applies if the offense involved material that portrays sadistic or masochistic conduct or other depictions of violence, regardless of whether the defendant specifically intended to possess, access with intent to view, receive, or distribute such materials.

3.      Application of Subsection (b)(5).—A conviction taken into account under subsection (b)(5) is not excluded from consideration of whether that conviction receives criminal history points pursuant to Chapter Four, Part A (Criminal History).

4.      Application of Subsection (b)(7).—

(A)     Definition of "Images".—"Images" means any visual depiction, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(5), that constitutes child pornography, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(8).

(B)     Determining the Number of Images.—For purposes of determining the number of images under subsection (b)(7):

(i)       Each photograph, picture, computer or computer-generated image, or any similar visual depiction shall be considered to be one image.  If the number of images substantially underrepresents the number of minors depicted, an upward departure may be warranted.

(ii)      Each video, video-clip, movie, or similar visual depiction shall be considered to have 75 images.  If the length of the visual depiction is substantially more than 5 minutes, an upward departure may be warranted.

5.      Application of Subsection (c)(1).—

(A)     In General.—The cross reference in subsection (c)(1) is to be construed broadly and includes all instances where the offense involved employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing, coercing, transporting, permitting, or offering or seeking by notice or advertisement, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting live any visual depiction of such conduct.

(B)     Definition.—"Sexually explicit conduct" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2).

6.      Cases Involving Adapted or Modified Depictions.—If the offense involved material that is an adapted or modified depiction of an identifiable minor (e.g., a case in which the defendant is convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 2252A(a)(7)), the term "material involving the sexual exploitation of a minor" includes such material.

7.      Upward Departure Provision.—If the defendant engaged in the sexual abuse or exploitation of a minor at any time (whether or not such abuse or exploitation occurred during the course of the offense or resulted in a conviction for such conduct) and subsection (b)(5) does not apply, an upward departure may be warranted.  In addition, an upward departure may be warranted if the defendant received an enhancement under subsection (b)(5) but that enhancement does not adequately reflect the seriousness of the sexual abuse or exploitation involved. 

Background:  Section 401(i)(1)(C) of Public Law 108–21 directly amended subsection (b) to add subdivision (7), effective April 30, 2003.

Historical Note:  Effective November 1, 1987.  Amended effective June 15, 1988 (see Appendix C, amendment 31); November 1, 1990 (see Appendix C, amendment 325); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 372); November 27, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 435); November 1, 1996 (see Appendix C, amendment 537); November 1, 1997 (see Appendix C, amendment 575); November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendment 592); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 615); April 30, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 649); November 1, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 661); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 664); November 1, 2009 (see Appendix C, amendments 733 and 736).