The Statistics That Link Child Porn To Child Sexual Abuse

Police arrested a 31-year-old man for possessing child pornography and are now investigating him on charges of sexually abusing a nine-year-old girl at a ranch. So far, the investigation shows the abuse had been occurring for more than three months.

Detectives acquired a search warrant and seized several electronic devices from the perpetrator's home. Forensics found hundreds of explicit nude photos of young children. The nine-year-old, however, did not seem to be in any of the pictures. Josh Copitch "Child abuse reports lead to arrest of man with child pornography," (Aug. 29, 2017).

Commentary and Checklist

A recent Mayo Clinic study found that "30 to 80 percent of individuals who viewed child pornography, and 76 percent of individuals who were arrested for Internet child pornography, had molested a child." This confirms older studies, as well. A U.S. Department of Justice report in 1987 found a correlation between those who trade or sell child pornography and child molestation behavior, and a 2008 study of convicted child molesters found that use of child porn significantly correlated with the risk of re-offending.

Possession, distribution, sale, or creation of child pornography is a federal crime. Based on the study, we know that possession of child porn is one sign of a possible sex offender.

What is child pornography? According to the FBI:   

  • Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as "any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age)."
  • In addition to photographs, videos, or digital images of minors, it also includes computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor and images created, adapted, or modified that appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor.
  • Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.
  • The legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity. A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive.
  • The age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.
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