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New York Penal Law § 263.11: Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child

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In the state of New York, possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child is a serious criminal offense. This offense is rooted in New York Penal Law § 263.11, which criminalizes the possession of any material that visually depicts sexual conduct by a child under the age of 17. Understanding the intricacies of this law is critical, as the consequences of a conviction can be profound and long-lasting, affecting one’s reputation, freedom, and future.

Our experienced New York sex crimes attorneys at Lebedin Kofman LLP bring a wealth of legal understanding to the table, offering comprehensive assistance to those entangled in the complexities of New York’s penal codes. If you have been charged under NYPL § 263.11, contact us today to receive seasoned and tailored assistance.

Hypothetical Example

Jane enjoys collecting vintage comic books and often buys them from online auctions. One day, Jane receives a package from an online seller that includes several comic books, along with a USB drive. Curious, Jane checks the contents of the USB and finds it contains videos. Upon viewing the videos, she realizes they show sexually explicit acts involving what appear to be minors.

Jane is disturbed and decides to delete the videos, but before she can do so, her roommate inadvertently reports the content to the police after borrowing the USB drive. When the police arrive, they find the USB drive with the videos still on it in Jane’s possession. Consequently, Jane is arrested and charged under New York’s Penal Law § 263.11 for possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child.

In this scenario, Jane is charged because:

  • She had possession of material (the videos on the USB drive) that depicted obscene sexual performances.
  • The individuals in the videos appeared to be children under the age of 17, making the content illegal.
  • Even though Jane’s possession was unintentional, she is still legally accountable for the material found in her possession, which is a violation of the law.

Despite her lack of intent to possess illegal content and her initial desire to delete the videos, Jane faces serious legal consequences for merely having the material in her possession, illustrating the severity of New York’s laws regarding obscene material involving children.

Related Offenses

Elements and Definitions

To convict an individual under NYPL § 263.11, the prosecution must establish the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Possession: The defendant must knowingly have in their possession or control, an obscene performance.
  • Nature of the Performance: The performance must be obscene, and it must involve sexual conduct by a child less than 17 years old.
  • Knowledge: The defendant must be aware, or should reasonably be expected to be aware, that the performance portrays a child less than 17 years old engaged in sexual conduct.


  • Obscene: Under New York law, material is obscene if it appeals to the prurient interest in sex and depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, lacking serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
  • Sexual Conduct: This term is broadly defined to include actual or simulated sexual intercourse, deviant sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality, masturbation, sadistic or masochistic acts, or lewd exhibition of the genitals.

Possible Legal Defenses

Defendants charged under NYPL § 263.11 may employ various legal defenses, including:

  • Good Faith Belief in Age: A defense can be that the individual had a bona fide, or good faith, belief that the person depicted was not a child under the age of 16, but was 16 or older. The key is the reasonableness of the belief, not the actual age of the person depicted.
  • Exposure due to Professional Capacity: If encountering child pornography is incidental to one’s professional responsibilities, this may serve as a defense. The person cannot be charged with possession if their job reasonably exposes them to such material.


Conviction under NYPL § 263.11 for possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child is classified as a class E felony.

The penalties may include:

  • Imprisonment: A term of up to 4 years in state prison.
  • Probation: A conviction under NYPL § 263.11 can also include probation for up to 10 years
  • Fines: A potential fine, the amount of which is determined by the court.
  • Sex Offender Registration: The defendant may be required to register as a sex offender, which carries long-term social and legal consequences.

It is crucial for anyone charged with this offense to seek competent legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the law and mount an effective defense.

New York Penal Law § 263.11: Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child

A person is guilty of possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child when, knowing the character and content thereof, he knowingly has in his possession or control, or knowingly accesses with intent to view, any obscene performance which includes sexual conduct by a child less than sixteen years of age.

Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child is a class E felony.

Get Experienced Legal Assistance from Lebedin Kofman LLP Today

Understanding New York’s laws regarding the possession of obscene sexual performances by a child is crucial for anyone facing such charges. If you find yourself accused under this statute, the implications can be severe and life-altering. Knowledge of the law and a solid defense strategy are key to navigating these serious accusations.

Lebedin Kofman LLP offers legal representation for those charged with Possessing an Obscene Sexual Performance by a Child in New York. Our attorneys understand the sensitive nature of such cases and are prepared to provide a measured and effective defense. We focus on understanding each client’s specific situation, providing legal advice and representation that are tailored to the unique aspects of every case.

If you’re dealing with charges under Penal Law § 263.11, it is essential to seek legal counsel promptly. The lawyers at Lebedin Kofman LLP are available to discuss your case, help clarify the legal process, and work with you to develop a strategy aimed at protecting your rights and addressing the charges. Contact us today at (646) 663-4430 to schedule a free consultation.

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