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Oregon Sexting Laws

There are no laws related specifically to sexting in Oregon. Consequently, anyone accused of creating and distributing indecent pictures of a minor may face prosecution under the state’s child pornography laws. That may result in prison time and sex offender registration for both teen and adult offenders.

Quick take:

  • The mandatory minimum sentence for committing a major sex crime, including using a minor in a display of sexually explicit conduct is twenty-five years.
  • Nude selfies taken by a child in Oregon constitute child pornography.
  • Teens convicted of class A or class B felonies must register as sex offenders.
  • Teens tried in the juvenile system do not have to register as sex offender.

Oregon sexting laws summary

State and federal laws define a child as anyone below 18. Because of that, any image or media that depicts anyone below 18 engaged in sexual conduct constitutes child pornography. “Sexual conduct” refers to acts including the lewd exhibition of the genitals/breasts/buttocks, sexual intercourse, sodomy, and related acts intended for sexual gratification.

Can a teen in Oregon be prosecuted for sexting?

With no Sexting Laws or Diversion Programs to shield teens from prosecution, prosecutors may pursue child pornography charges, soliciting sexual conduct from minors, unlawful dissemination of an intimate image, harassment, invasion of privacy, exploitation of a minor, or other related charges.

Note that upon conviction for any of the charges mentioned, the accused may have to register as a sex offender. Furthermore, state law does not require that the image or video be taken by someone else. That means nude selfies may also constitute child pornography.

Oregon sexting laws and online sexual corruption of a child in the first and second degree

Under ORS 163.432, “Online sexual corruption of a child in the first degree” happens when an adult uses an electronic device or online communication to solicit sexual conduct from a child with the intent of arousal or sexual gratification. Under the statute, soliciting sex from a child is a class C felony that escalates into “online Corruption in the first degree,” a class B felony, if the accused takes a substantial step toward physically meeting with a child.

Remember, conspiring to, attempting to, and soliciting sexual conduct electronically or otherwise are federal and state crimes. Under federal law, the punishment could be anywhere from ten years to life. In comparison, a class C felony in Oregon is punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $125000.

A class B felony is punishable by up to $250000 fine and/or up to ten years in prison.

When does sexting become child pornography in Oregon?

Under ORS.163.684, an individual is guilty of “Encouraging child sexual abuse in the first degree” if the individual creates or causes the creation of child pornography. Under the statute, it is unlawful to develop, duplicate, publish, distribute, attempt to create, disseminate, or finance child pornography.

Encouraging child sexual abuse is a class B felony of the first degree.

Knowingly possessing, controlling, or purchasing child pornography is a second-degree class C felony under ORS 163.686, whereas encouraging Child Sexual Abuse is a third-degree misdemeanor.

ORS 163.684 to ORS 163.693 What to remember:

  • Transporting or sending child pornography across state lines is both a federal and state crime.
  • Knowingly possessing, distributing, or encouraging Child Sexual Abuse is a class C felony.
  • Knowingly possessing material depicting sexually explicit conduct of a child is a class B felony.

Oregon sexting laws and invasion of personal privacy

Under 0RS 163.702. “Invasion of Personal Privacy in the Second Degree.” An individual is guilty of violating someone else’s privacy if the person knowingly records, photographs, videotapes, or records in any other way another person’s intimate areas. The law works under two assumptions. (1) the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy, or (2) the accused captured the image or video without consent.

 Note that “intimate areas” refer to nudity or undergarments worn by the victim. If the offender is an adult -that is, anyone above 18, including a boy/girlfriend -and the victim a child, the crime escalates from a Class A misdemeanor into child pornography.

Oregon sexting laws and using a minor in a display of sexual conduct

In Oregon, coercing, persuading, or in any way encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct for filming or recording is a class A felony.

A Mandatory minimum sentence of seventy months in prison, a maximum sentence of twenty years, and a fine of up to $375000 are the penalties for committing a class A felony in Oregon. With no diversion program for teens, it means that sexting youths are at risk. Why?

Under state law, child pornography is a Major Felony Sex Crime. State statute 137.690 explicitly states, quote:

 “Any person who is convicted of a major felony sex crime, who has one (or more) previous conviction of a major felony sex crime, shall be imprisoned for a mandatory minimum term of 25 years.”

The statute also lists the following crimes as major sex crimes:

  • (ORS 163.670).
  • Unlawful sexual penetration in the first degree
  • Sodomy in the first degree.

What to remember:

  • Asking a child to perform a sexual act via electronic device or using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct is a major sex crime.
  • Persuading a child to create indecent images is a major sex crime.
  • The mandatory minimum for committing a major sex crime in Oregon is twenty-five years and a fine.
  • Law enforcement officers may pose as minors during investigations.

What is the punishment for sexting in Oregon?

The punishment depends on the facts presented. Consequently, a single set of facts may lead to multiple convictions. The facts will also determine if the accused faces trial in adult or juvenile court. For a first offense, the majority of teens will go through the juvenile system.

Oregon’s juvenile system aims to rehabilitate. Consequently, the punishment options include community service, educational programs, or in some instances, incarceration in a juvenile facility. Repeat offenders or teens who commit crimes that would be a felony if committed by an adult or teens who commit federal crimes may face prosecution in adult court.

A teen is eligible for adult prosecution if the minor is above fifteen and committed class A or class B felonies mentioned above. If prosecuted in adult court, the teen will have to register as a sex offender.

What if a teen or adult commits a federal crime?

An adult accused of federal sex crimes may face prosecution in both state and federal court. An example of a federal sexting-related crime is soliciting sexual conduct from a child across state or international borders.

The juvenile delinquent act says that teens should be tried in juvenile court whenever possible. Consequently, teens are unlikely to face federal charges. Also, Oregon reformed its juvenile system in 2019; under the new legislation, the court cannot automatically transfer teens aged between 15 and 17 to adult court, nor can the court sentence teens in that age gap to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or release.

Oregon sexting laws and unlawful dissemination of a private image

ORS 163.472 is Oregon’s Revenge Porn Law. Under the statute, a person is guilty of Unlawful Dissemination if the individual intends to humiliate, harass, or injure another -financially or emotionally. In addition, the person intentionally discloses or causes to be disclosed an identifiable image of another who is engaged in sexual conduct or whose intimate parts are exposed.

The statute works under the assumption that the accused knew or should have known that the other did not consent to dissemination and quote, “A reasonable person would be harassed, humiliated or injured by the disclosure.”

Unlawful dissemination is a class A misdemeanor that escalates into a class C felony if the accused has priors.

It is also worth mentioning that “Identifiable” means that a reasonable person would be able to identify the victim depicted in the photo. It could be through marks, tattoos, face, information that came with the image, and so on.

References

Other Oregon Laws

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