Florida Woman Charged with Promoting Sexual Performance of a Minor

December 21, 2022 Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

In the state of Florida, it is against the law to have in possession or attempt to promote, any image or video containing the sexual conduct of a minor. Prosecutors will likely try to secure the harshest punishments for anyone accused of such an offense.

This page will cover the State laws on promoting the sexual performances of a child and transmission of harmful material to a minor, along with a recent example case in Florida.

Example Case

Miami-Dade Police have arrested Guissell Lanning, 42, after being accused of taking over a minor’s online chat account and sending explicit images of the 11-year-old girl to a teenage boy.

According to the report, the victim claimed that she began messaging with an unknown 14 or 15-year-old boy on the messaging website Discord back in 2020. The victim reported that from 2020 up until her arrest, Lanning took over and started an extended messaging thread with the teenager herself.

Police reported that Lanning took explicit images of the 11-year-old girl in different positions, sending the naked photos to the young boy in return. The victim told police that the images were sent often and that Lanning would show her the nude pictures that the boy would send of himself.

Lanning has since been arrested by Miami-Dade police and is facing two charges of promoting a sexual performance by a child, a charge of transmitting harmful material to a minor, and a charge of using a computer to seduce a child into engaging in sexual conduct. She has been ordered by the court to stay away from the victim and was given a $45,000 bond with house arrest. Lanning has an arraignment hearing scheduled for January 3rd, 2023.

Promoting Sexual Performance by a Child

Florida Statute section 827.071 covers the laws and penalties for child pornography and sexual performances by a child. “Sexual performance” refers to any performance or part thereof which includes sexual conduct by a child. Depending on the details of the offense, a person can be charged with a third- or second-degree felony for violating the sections codified under Florida law.

Third-Degree Felony Violation

It is unlawful for any individual to knowingly possess an image, photograph, motion picture, exhibition, or other presentation which, in whole or in part, he or she knows to include any sexual conduct of a child. In other words, it is illegal for any person to have any pictures or movies which feature children under the age of 18 performing any sexual act.

Violating this section of the law may result in the offender being charged with a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony has penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. One important thing to note is that each possession of such a photo or exhibition can result in a separate offense.

Second-Degree Felony Violation

The following is a list of violation sections that would result in a second-degree felony charge under Florida Statute section 827.071:

  • An individual is guilty of the use of a child in a sexual performance if they knowingly employ, authorizes, or induces a child younger than 18 years to engage in a sexual performance, or if the child’s parent or legal guardian consents to the child’s participation in a sexual performance.
  • An individual is guilty of promoting a sexual performance by a child if they knowingly produce, direct, or promote any performance which includes the sexual conduct of a child younger than 18 years.
  • An individual is guilty of possessing with the intent to promote if they possess more than three copies of any photograph, motion picture, or any presentation of a child engaging in a sexual performance. Having three or more copies of such illicit content is prima facie evidence of the intent to promote.

The penalties for a second-degree felony in Florida include up to a $10,000 fine and up to 15 years in prison.

Transmitting Harmful Material to a Minor

Florida Statute section 847.0138 covers the law on the transmission of material which is deemed harmful to minors. This means that the offender has electronically sent harmful material to a person who is younger than 18 years old. “Harmful material” is defined as any content which depicts nudity or sexual content that lacks any serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors. The Florida Supreme Court has defined “electronic mail” in the transmission of said content to include both instant messaging and email.  

A person who violates such law and transmits harmful material to minors can be charged with a third-degree felony in Florida. A third-degree felony has penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. A person who has been charged with four or more counts of transmission of harmful materials to minors would face the mandatory minimum sentence of 12 months in prison, with an additional 4 months for every count of transmission.

In addition to paying fines and potentially going to prison, getting convicted of transmission of harmful material to minors would also be required to register on Florida’s Sex Offender Registry. The convicted person would be placed on sex offender probation and must comply with the State laws for sex offender registration.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

It is extremely important for anyone who is accused of possessing, promoting, or transmitting illicit content containing minors to seek out legal help. Florida State Attorneys will harshly prosecute cases that include victims younger than the age of 18. That means it is especially important to work with an experienced Florida criminal defense attorney to build a strong defense for your case.

Pumphrey Law Firm has an experienced group of defense attorneys who have spent years defending clients across Florida. Don Pumphrey and his team will work tirelessly with you to fight for your freedom. For a free consultation regarding your case, contact us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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