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Missouri Child Pornography Laws

Briefly, child porn is immoral and illegal in Missouri, so don't do it. The possession, promotion, and creation of pornographic materials with a child under 18 years old are all crimes under Missouri law.

There are different levels or degrees of child pornography crimes, with the greatest penalties applying in cases where the child involved is or appears to be under 14. The second degree or next level of penalty applies in cases where the child is under 18, but over 14. Providing or showing porn to a child under 18 is also illegal, whether it's a magazine, a performance, or videos over the internet.

Details about Missouri child pornography laws are outline in the table below. For more information, see the FindLaw Sex Crimes section.

Code Sections

Missouri Chapter 573: Pornography and Related Offenses

  • 573.020 - Wholesale promotion or possession of porn for minors
  • 573.023 - Sexual exploitation of a minor by taking photos, filming, or creating child porn
  • 573.025 - Promoting or intending to promote porn with children actually or appearing to be 14 or younger
  • 573.030 - Promoting or possession obscene material for minors for money or favors
  • 573.035 - Promoting child porn of a minor under or appearing to be under 18
  • 573.037 - Possession of porn of children 18 or younger
  • 573.040 - Furnishing or providing porn to minors
  • 573.509 - No one under 19 years old can perform in a strip club or "adult cabaret"
What Is Prohibited?

Essentially, any minor under 18 cannot be photographed, filmed, or made to perform in any sexual manner. Minors also can't be made to watch a performance or be shown or sold any sexually explicit materials, including over the Internet. Buyers and sellers of "obscene" materials should confirm children aren't depicted and shouldn't sell or give porn to children. Obscene materials are those that the average person in the community would consider to be depicting sexual conduct offensively and lacking serious artistic or scientific value.


Penalties vary depending on the conduct committed, the defendant's knowledge of the age of the child involved, and the age or apparent age of the child:

  • Class A felony - filming, photographing, or creating obscene materials with a child under 14; knowingly promoting child porn portraying a child under 14 to a minor
  • Class B felony - filming, photographing, or creating obscene materials with a child under 18; knowingly promoting child porn portraying a child under 18 to a minor; promoting porn of a child under 14 to an adult; possession of 20+ child porn images or 1+ film
  • Class C felony - promoting porn of a child under 18, but over 14; possession of 1-19 child porn images
  • Class D felony - wholesale promotion or possession of any obscene materials either for adults or for minors or furnishing or providing pornographic materials to children under 18; promoting or furnishing porn to a minor if previously convicted of a child porn crime
  • Class A misdemeanor - promoting or furnishing porn to minors; hiring a person under 19 to dance in adult establishment

Punishments for felonies and misdemeanors in Missouri vary by class. The felonies above are subject to the following penalties:

  • Class A felony - imprisonment of 10-30 years or life imprisonment
  • Class B felony - imprisonment of 5-15 years
  • Class C felony - imprisonment for 7 years or less and/or a fine up to $5,000 or up to double the amount the defendant gained from the crime up to $20,000
  • Class D felony - imprisonment for 4 years or less and/or a fine up to $5,000 and/or a fine up to $5,000 or up to double the amount the defendant gained from the crime up to $20,000
  • Class A misdemeanor - jail for one year or less and up to a $1,000 fine
Civil Case As the creation of child pornography may involve the sexual battery (or harmful or offensive touching) of a child, the child may sue the persons who hurt them and the individuals who directed the porno. This would be a civil lawsuit for financial compensation separate from any criminal case for the child porn laws that were broken. If you are a victim of a child sexual exploitation, you may wish to consult a personal injury attorney about suing your exploiters. If you've been accused of a child porn related crime, be aware that a civil suit is possible and you may need to hire a civil defense attorney in addition to your criminal defense attorney or public defender.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri sex crime attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Research the Law

Missouri Sexual Assault Laws: Related Resources

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