Kansas Sexting Laws

Is sending unsolicited pictures Illegal? Yes. Under Kansas sexting laws and harassment statutes sending unsolicited nudes is illegal in Kansas, furthermore teens found guilty of sexting, that is, the sending and receiving of sexually explicit pictures may face felony charges.

Kansas Sexting Laws

Quick take:

  • Sexting amongst consenting adults is legal in Kansas
  • Teens convicted of felony sexting or child porn possession and distribution must register as sex offenders.
  • Victims of cyberbullying, unsolicited sexts, revenge porn and blackmail may take civil action.

Kansas sexting laws summary

Under state statute 21-5610, it is a crime to create, possess and transmit any visual depictions, including deep fakes, depicting a minor. Breach of privacy and blackmail using an electronic device is also unlawful. The law works under the rebuttable presumption that anyone who transmits sexually explicit images of a child had the intention of embarrassing, harassing, intimidating, defaming, or inflicting emotional, psychological, or physical harm, if the offender transmits the photo, image, or video to more than one person. Knowingly possessing a sexually explicit visual depiction of a minor younger than 16 constitutes unlawful possession.

In Kansas, unlawful possession of a photo of a minor is a class B misdemeanor. Affirmative defenses for unlawful possession include (1) the receiver made a good effort to delete, erase, or otherwise destroy the image. (2) the receiver did not disseminate or exhibit the image. (3) the receiver did not solicit, request, or otherwise try to obtain the image from the child.

What to remember

  • It is unlawful for anyone in Kansas to possess a visual depiction of a child younger than 18.
  • Explicit images that depict a child engaged in a sexual act constitute obscenity.
  • Obscenity is a misdemeanor for a first offense and a felony for a second or subsequent offense.
  • It is unlawful to use, employ, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor under 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct.
  • If convicted of a felony offense, sexting teens may have to register into the Kansas sex offender registry.

Recent changes to Kansas sexting laws make it a misdemeanor to possess and transmit nude photos, including selfies of anyone aged twelve through seventeen. That change may help teenage offenders avoid felony charges, but it does not prevent prosecutors from filing serious charges such as child pornography, sexual exploitation of a minor, solicitation, harassment, and revenge porn.

The age of consent in Kansas is sixteen, but, possessing any image or video of a child younger than 18 constitutes child porn on both state and federal levels. The severity of the offense will determine if the accused faces both federal and state charges. If the activity happened interstate – say a minor in Kansas solicited sexual photos from a minor in Texas- both minors may face federal delinquency proceedings, or the feds may recommend the court to transfer the case to adult court.

If the court decides to prosecute a minor as an adult, the minor will face adult charges and mandatory registration into the state’s sex offender registry upon conviction.

Kansas child pornography laws

Kansas defines child pornography as depictions or visual images of a minor below 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Sexual conduct as defined by house bill 2501 refers to actual or simulated sodomy or sexual intercourse, including oral-genital, genital to genital, oral to anal, masturbation, and sadomasochistic abuse. The definition applies whether the conduct is between persons of the same sex or opposite sex. Furthermore, in Kansas “State of Nudity” refers to a state of undress in which the female breast, pubic region, human genitals, and at a point below the areola is, quote “less than completely and opaquely covered.”

If you possess or transmit a picture, video, or any other media the depicts a child -in a state or activity mentioned above- you are guilty of child pornography under KAN. STAT.ANN. 21-5510.

Under the statute, it is illegal to possess, consent, transmit, or employ, persuade, or induce a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct.

21-5514 internet trading in child pornography

Purchasing, sending, or receiving sexually explicit videos of a child constitutes Sexual Exploitation of a Child. Sexual exploitation of a child is a level five felony, and so is child porn possession. Promotion of any performance that depicts a child engaged in sexually explicit conduct, being a person of authority, say a guardian, caregiver, or parent, knowingly permitting a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct also qualifies as exploitation of a minor.

Note: anyone convicted of simple possession of federal child pornography must serve a mandatory minimum sentence of sixty months (five years) with no supervised releases, probation, or parole.

When does child pornography turn into a federal crime?

  • When the image, photo, or video is transmitted via mail, digitally or physically across state or national borders.
  • Downloading child porn from a server located outside Kansas.
  • If the materials used to store the photo or image (camera, smartphone, computer, etc.) previously crossed a state line or international borders.

Indecent solicitation of a child

Any adult who solicits sex or explicit pictures from a child in Kansas is guilty of indecent solicitation. Under Kansas law, Indecent Solicitation of a Child -is the commanding, inviting, enticing, or persuading a child, less than sixteen years of age to (1) participate in an unlawful sexual act (2) submit to sexual conduct, (3) enter a building, room, or vehicle to have sexual relations.

The crime escalates into Aggravated Indecent Solicitation if the victim is below fourteen. Indecent solicitation is a class 5 felony whereas Aggravated Indecent Solicitation of a minor is a class 5 felony.

Kansas sexting laws, harassment, and unsolicited sexts

Unwanted pictures and texts of a sexual nature constitute harassment in Kansas. 21-4113 Harassment by Telephone makes it unlawful to transmit any request, suggestion, proposal, or comment that is obscene, filthy, lewd, or indecent.

Under the statute, it is also illegal to make someone else’s phone ring repeatedly, making phone calls with intent to abuse or harass, and knowingly allowing a device under your control to be used for harassment.  Anyone found guilty of violating statute 21-4113 is guilty of a class A non-person misdemeanor. A class A non-person misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year behind bars and a $2500 fine.   

Victims of unsolicited sexts or harassment by phone may take civil action against the offender.

Cyberbullying and blackmail in Kansas

Cyberbullying -as defined by Kansas law- is the use of electronic devices to insult or threaten someone in an aggressive fashion using email, text messages, blogs, online games, websites, and so on. Cyberbullying is a non-person misdemeanor that may escalate into stalking charges if the actions of the offender are enough to put, quote “a reasonable person in fear.”

Kansas statute 21-5428 Blackmail states, quote “ Blackmail is intentionally gaining or attempting to gain anything of value or compelling or attempting to compel another to act against such person’s will, by threatening to:(1) Communicate accusations or statements about any person that would subject such person or any other person to public ridicule, contempt or degradation; or (2) disseminate any videotape, photograph, film, or image obtained in violation of subsection.”

Depending on the severity, blackmail is either a severity level seven, non-person felony, or a severity level 4 non-person felony.

Kansas sexting laws and revenge porn

Revenge porn in Kansas is covered under KS HB2501 “Breach of privacy.” Under the law, it is unlawful to knowingly share, post or disseminate, an image, photos, video, tape, photograph, or any media of an identifiable person, older than 18, with the intent to intimidate, harass, or threaten the person depicted.  

For a first offense, breach of privacy in Kansas is a level 8-person felony, for a second or subsequent offense, the crime escalates into a level 5 felony.

At what age are you allowed to legally sext in Kansas?

Considering state and federal laws, the legal age for sexting in Kansas is 18. What teens and adults must remember is if there is an exchange of sexually explicit photos, videos, films, or media between a minor and a minor, or a minor and adult, the charges may escalate to possession and distribution of child pornography.

The sender

The sender commits a crime if the individual creates and sends child pornography, for example, a minor taking a nude selfie and sending it to someone else constitutes the creation and distribution of child pornography. Or if the images are unsolicited.

The receiver

It is a crime to solicit, request, force, or blackmail a minor into sending sexually explicit pictures. Transmitting the image to a third party or someone outside the relationship constitutes distribution of child pornography. If the receiver takes reasonable actions or steps to delete or report unsolicited sexts from a minor to appropriate authorities (school, law enforcement or the minor’s parents), then no crime is committed.

What to remember and what to do next

  • Teen Sexting across state lines may constitute a federal offense if there is an exchange of sexually explicit media.
  • Sexting amongst teens is illegal in Kansas.
  • The punishment escalates if the accused has a previous record or if the person depicted in the pictures or videos is below sixteen.
  • If you are accused of sexting or child pornography, contact an attorney immediately.
  • Victims of phone harassment may take civil action to recover damages. 

Navigating these laws on your own is difficult, we recommend consulting with an experienced local defense attorney today.

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