Federal Sex Crimes

Many sexually-related criminal offenses are prosecuted on the local level in state courts. Criminal charges, however, that are more serious in nature—such as offenses that allegedly crossed state lines—can be subject to federal prosecution.

Convictions for federal sex crimes often carry longer prison sentences (including mandatory minimum sentencing requirements) and bigger fines. The federal agencies that investigate and handle these cases also have much more substantial resources than their state counterparts.

Lawyer for Federal Sex Crimes in Columbus, OH

If you were arrested, indicted, or believe that you could be under federal investigation for any kind of alleged sex offense in Central Ohio, it is in your best interest to not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Joslyn Law Firm aggressively defends clients facing federal charges throughout Franklin County, Union County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and Fairfield County.

Columbus criminal defense attorney Brian Joslyn is admitted to the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case as soon as you call (614) 444-1900 to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation.


Ohio Federal Sex Crimes Information Center


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Federal Child Pornography Penalties in Franklin County

One area of interstate commerce that the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution provides for federal regulation concerns the internet. A significant amount of child pornography is sent, received, and otherwise shared online.

When a person allegedly possesses, distributed, or is otherwise involved with any kind of online child pornography activity, the alleged offender could be charged with any one of a number of federal crimes. A few of the most common federal child pornography charges include:

  • Obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children, 18 U.S. Code § 1466A — Possession of a visual depiction of any kind that depicts a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and is obscene or depicts an image that is, or appears to be, of a minor engaging in graphic bestiality, sadistic or masochistic abuse, or sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex and lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses or offenses involving a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Knowingly producing, distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to distribute any of the aforementioned material is punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense, or a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a subsequent offense.
  • Sexual exploitation of children, 18 U.S. Code § 2251 — Employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing any minor to engage in, or having a minor assist any other person to engage in, or transporting any minor in with the intent that such minor engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense. A second offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 25 years up to 50 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, and a third or subsequent offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 35 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. If alleged conduct results in the death of a person, a conviction may be punishable by death or a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to life in prison.
  • Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors, 18 U.S. Code § 2252 — Knowingly possessing or knowingly accessing with intent to view matter which contains any visual depiction involving the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense. If a first offense involves a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age, a conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Knowingly transporting, shipping, receiving, distributing, selling, or possessing with intent to sell the aforementioned material is punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense, or a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a subsequent offense.
  • Certain activities relating to material constituting or containing child pornography, 18 U.S. Code § 2252A — Knowingly mailing, transporting, receiving, distributing, reproducing, advertising, promoting, presenting, soliciting, selling, possessing, or possessing with intent to sell child pornography is punishable by a mandatory minimum of five years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense, or a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a subsequent offense. Knowingly possessing or accessing with intent to view any book, magazine, periodical, film, videotape, computer disk, or any other material that contains an image of child pornography is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense. If a first offense involves a prepubescent minor or a minor who had not attained 12 years of age, a conviction is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Subsequent offenses are punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States, 18 U.S. Code § 2260 — Alleged offenders outside the United States who employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any minor to engage in, or have a minor assist any other person to engage in, or transport any minor with the intent that the minor engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct or for the purpose of transmitting a live visual depiction of such conduct, can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense. A second offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 25 years up to 50 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000, and a third or subsequent offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 35 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. If alleged conduct results in the death of a person, a conviction may be punishable by death or a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to life in prison. Alleged offenders outside the United States who knowingly receive, transport, ship, distribute, sell, or possess with intent to transport, ship, sell, or distribute any visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of five years up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a first offense, or a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to 40 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 for a subsequent offense.

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Federal Sex Trafficking Penalties in Ohio

Sex trafficking involves the trade of human beings for sexual slavery. More often than not, these alleged crimes involve some aspect of international travel.

The White-Slave Traffic Act, more commonly known as the Mann Act, was the first federal law against human trafficking when it was passed in 1910 and codified under 18 U.S. Code§§ 2421-2424. The Mann Act criminalizes the following activities:

  • Knowingly transporting or attempting to transport any individual in interstate or foreign commerce with intent that such individual engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce to knowingly persuade, induce, entice, or coerce any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Knowingly transporting any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce with intent that such individual engage in prostitution or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Traveling in interstate commerce or into the United States for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Traveling in foreign commerce or residing, either temporarily or permanently, in a foreign country, and engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • An alleged offender who, for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, arranges, induces, procures, or facilitates the travel of a person knowing that such a person is traveling in interstate commerce or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct can be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion is also a federal crime under 18 U.S. Code § 1591. Recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, providing, obtaining, advertising, maintaining, patronizing, or soliciting by any means a person, or benefiting, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in such a venture to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 15 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 (the mandatory minimum is 10 years for alleged offenders who were under 18 years of age at the time of the alleged offenses involving alleged victims 14 years of age or older).


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Federal Sexual Abuse Penalties in Columbus

Multiple federal laws against sexual abuse are established under 18 U.S. Code Chapter 109A. Some of the federal statutes include:

  • Aggravated sexual abuse, 18 U.S. Code § 2241 — Knowingly causing another person to engage in a sexual act by using force against that other person or by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping is punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Knowingly rendering another person unconscious and thereby engages in a sexual act with that other person or administering to another person by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of that person, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of that other person to appraise or control conduct and engaging in a sexual act with that other person is punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000. Crossing a state line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years or knowingly engaging in any of the aforementioned sexual acts with a person who has attained 12 years of age but is less than 16 years of age is punishable by a mandatory minimum of 30 years up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Sexual abuse, 18 U.S. Code § 2242 — Knowingly causing another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear or engaging in a sexual act with another person if that other person is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, that sexual act is punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
  • Sexual abuse of a minor or ward, 18 U.S. Code § 2243 — Knowingly engaging in a sexual act with another person who has attained 12 years of age but is less than 16 years of age and is at least four years younger than the alleged offender, or another person who is in official detention and under the custodial, supervisory, or disciplinary authority of the person so engaging is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.

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Ohio Federal Sex Crime Resources

Sex Trafficking: An Overview of Federal Criminal Law — The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a component of the Library of Congress that conducts research and analysis for Congress on a broad range of national policy issues. In this report published on June 25, 2015, you can learn more about sex trafficking crimes under 18 U.S. Code § 1591 and the Mann Act. The report also covers attempts and conspiracies to violate these statutes.

Report to Congress: Federal Child Pornography Offenses — The United States Sentencing Commission is “a bipartisan, independent agency located in the judicial branch of government, was created by Congress in 1984 to reduce sentencing disparities and promote transparency and proportionality in sentencing.” In this report, the Commission examined cases of offenders sentenced under the federal sentencing guidelines and corresponding penal statutes concerning child pornography offenses. You can learn more about technology and investigation by law enforcement in child pornography cases, child pornography offender behavior, and sentencing disparities.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Columbus Federal Sex Crimes Lawyer

Do you think that you might be under investigation or have you been indicted or arrested in Central Ohio for a federal sex crime? Do not make any kind of statement to authorities until you have contacted Joslyn Law Firm.

Brian Joslyn is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Columbus who represents clients all over the greater Franklin County area, including Dublin, Grove City, Gahanna, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Reynoldsburg, Hilliard, Whitehall, Worthington, Bexley, and many surrounding communities. Call (614) 444-1900 or complete an online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation that will let our lawyer review your case and discuss your legal options.


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