2022 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B
By: Representative Darnell
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 97-5-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CLARIFY THE PENALTIES FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF EXPLOITATION; TO AMEND SECTION 97-5-35, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM TO THE PRECEDING SECTION; TO BRING FORWARD SECTION 97-5-27, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE CRIME OF COMPUTER LURING, FOR PURPOSES OF AMENDMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 97-5-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-5-33. (1) No person shall, by any means, including computer, cause, solicit or knowingly permit any child to engage in sexually explicit conduct or in the simulation of sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct.
(2) No person shall, by any means, including computer, photograph, film, video tape or otherwise depict or record a child engaging in sexually explicit conduct or in the simulation of sexually explicit conduct.
(3) No person shall, by any
means, including computer, knowingly send, transport, transmit, ship * * *
or mail * * * any photograph, drawing, sketch,
film, video tape or other visual depiction of an actual child engaging in
sexually explicit conduct.
(4) No person shall, by any
means, including computer, receive with intent to * * *
distribute for sale, sell or
attempt to sell in any manner any photograph, drawing, sketch, film, video tape
or other visual depiction of an actual child engaging in sexually explicit
(5) No person shall, by any means, including computer, knowingly possess or knowingly access with intent to view any photograph, drawing, sketch, film, video tape or other visual depiction of an actual child engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
(6) No person shall, by any means, including computer, knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit, advise, coerce, or order a child to meet with the defendant or any other person for the purpose of engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
(7) No person shall, by any means, including computer, knowingly entice, induce, persuade, seduce, solicit, advise, coerce or order a child to produce any visual depiction of adult sexual conduct or any sexually explicit conduct.
(8) The fact that an undercover operative or law enforcement officer posed as a child or was involved in any other manner in the detection and investigation of an offense under this section shall not constitute a defense to a prosecution under this section.
(9) For purposes of determining jurisdiction, the offense is committed in this state if all or part of the conduct described in this section occurs in the State of Mississippi or if the transmission that constitutes the offense either originates in this state or is received in this state.
SECTION 2. Section 97-5-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
97-5-35. Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older who violates any provision of Section 97-5-33 shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be fined not less than Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) nor more than Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($500,000.00) and shall be imprisoned for not less than five (5) years nor more than forty (40) years. Any person eighteen (18) years of age or older convicted of a second or subsequent violation of Section 97-5-33 shall be fined not less than One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000.00) nor more than One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00) and shall be confined in the custody of the Department of Corrections for life or such lesser term as the court may determine, but not less than twenty (20) years.
SECTION 3. Section 97-5-27, Mississippi Code of 1972, is brought forward as follows:
97-5-27. (1) Any person who intentionally and knowingly disseminates sexually oriented material to any person under eighteen (18) years of age shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined for each offense not less than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) or be imprisoned for not more than one (1) year in the county jail, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment. A person disseminates sexually oriented material within the meaning of this section if he:
(a) Sells, delivers or provides, or offers or agrees to sell, deliver or provide, any sexually oriented writing, picture, record or other representation or embodiment that is sexually oriented; or
(b) Presents or directs a sexually oriented play, dance or other performance or participates directly in that portion thereof which makes it sexually oriented; or
(c) Exhibits, presents, rents, sells, delivers or provides, or offers or agrees to exhibit, present, rent or to provide any sexually oriented still or motion picture, film, filmstrip or projection slide, or sound recording, sound tape or sound track or any matter or material of whatever form which is a representation, embodiment, performance or publication that is sexually oriented.
(2) For purposes of this section, any material is sexually oriented if the material contains representations or descriptions, actual or simulated, of masturbation, sodomy, excretory functions, lewd exhibition of the genitals or female breasts, sadomasochistic abuse (for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification), homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or the breast or breasts of a female for the purpose of sexual stimulation, gratification or perversion.
(3) (a) A person is guilty of computer luring when:
(i) Knowing the character and content of any communication of sexually oriented material, he intentionally uses any computer communication system allowing the input, output, examination or transfer of computer data or computer programs from one (1) computer to another, to initiate or engage in such communication with a person under the age of eighteen (18); and
(ii) By means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a person under the age of eighteen (18) years to engage in sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse or sexual contact with him, or to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance or sexual conduct for his benefit.
(b) A person who engages in the conduct proscribed by this subsection (3) is presumed to do so with knowledge of the character and content of the material.
(c) In any prosecution for computer luring, it shall be a defense that:
(i) The defendant made a reasonable effort to ascertain the true age of the minor and was unable to do so as a result of actions taken by the minor; or
(ii) The defendant has taken, in good faith, reasonable, effective and appropriate actions under the circumstances to restrict or prevent access by minors to the materials prohibited, which may involve any appropriate measures to restrict minors from access to such communications, including any method which is feasible under available technology; or
(iii) The defendant has restricted access to such materials by requiring use of a verified credit card, debit account, adult access code or adult personal identification number; or
(iv) The defendant has in good faith established a mechanism such that the labeling, segregation or other mechanism enables such material to be automatically blocked or screened by software or other capabilities reasonably available to responsible adults wishing to effect such blocking or screening and the defendant has not otherwise solicited minors not subject to such screening or blocking capabilities to access that material or to circumvent any such screening or blocking.
(d) In any prosecution for computer luring:
(i) No person shall be held to have violated this subsection (3) solely for providing access or connection to or from a facility, system, or network not under that person's control, including transmission, downloading, intermediate storage, access software or other related capabilities that are incidental to providing such access or connection that do not include the creation of the content of the communication.
(ii) No employer shall be held liable for the actions of an employee or agent unless the employee's or agent's conduct is within the scope of his employment or agency or the employer, having knowledge of such conduct, authorizes or ratifies such conduct, or recklessly disregards such conduct.
(iii) The limitations provided by this paragraph (d) shall not be applicable to a person who is a conspirator with an entity actively involved in the creation or knowing distribution of communications that violate such provisions, or who knowingly advertises the availability of such communications, nor to a person who provides access or connection to a facility, system or network engaged in the violation of such provisions that is owned or controlled by such person.
(e) Computer luring is a felony, and any person convicted thereof shall be punished by commitment to the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term not to exceed three (3) years and by a fine not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00).
(4) Investigation and prosecution of a defendant under this section does not preclude prosecution of the defendant for a violation of other applicable criminal laws, including, but not limited to, the Mississippi Human Trafficking Act, Section 97-3-54 et seq.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2022.