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Massachusetts G.L. c. 272, § 29B: Dissemination of Visual Material of Child in State of Nudity or Sexual Conduct

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 29B makes it a crime to disseminate visual depictions of a child in a state of nudity or in any act that represents sexual conduct. Under the statute, a person is guilty of this crime if it is proven that he or she:

with lascivious intent, disseminates any visual material that contains a representation or reproduction of:

  1. any posture or exhibition in a state of nudity involving the use of a child who is under eighteen years of age, [or]
  2. any act that depicts, describes, or represents sexual conduct participated or engaged in by a child who is under eighteen years of age,

knowing the contents of such visual material or having sufficient facts in his possession to have knowledge of the contents thereof, with the intent to disseminate same…

To convict a defendant under this statute, the government must prove all of the following beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant disseminated (i.e., shared or distributed) to one or more persons a visual depiction of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct;
  • The defendant knew or had reason to know that the visual depiction included a child under the age of eighteen in such a state;
  • The defendant intended to disseminate the visual material; and
  • The defendant disseminated the material with lascivious intent.
Examples: G.L. c. 272, Section 29B

A defendant may face charges of unlawful dissemination under this statute if he or she shares the visual material with any other person, even if he or she does not sell the material or does not otherwise gain any economic benefit from the dissemination.

Related Offenses

A person charged with disseminating visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct could also be charged under M.G.L. c. 272, Section 29A (posing a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct), or M.G.L. c. 272, Section 29C (purchasing or possessing of visual material of a child depicted in sexual conduct).

Defenses to Charges of Dissemination

To counter any evidence of “lascivious intent,” Section 29B provides that a defendant can offer evidence that the prohibited dissemination was done for a bona fide scientific, medical, or educational purpose for a bona fide school, museum, or library. In addition, prior to trial, any evidence of the crime that the police obtained unlawfully (i.e., in violation of the defendant’s search and seizure rights, Miranda rights, or other constitutional rights), may be disqualified from trial pursuant to a defense lawyer’s motion to suppress evidence.


Under this statute, the prohibited dissemination is punishable by:

  • Imprisonment in the state prison for ten to twenty years;
  • A fine of either $10,000 to $50,000, or three times the monetary value of any economic gain the defendant derived from the dissemination (whichever fine is greater); or
  • Both imprisonment and a fine.
Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer 617 263 6800

Defendants charged with dissemination of visual material of a child in a nude or sexual state are encouraged to contact Attorney Stephen Neyman at the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, P.C. Attorney Neyman is experienced in all aspects of criminal defense, including crimes involving the creation, possession, and dissemination of allegedly lewd or illicit photographs of children. Contact Attorney Neyman at 617-263-6800 or online today for a free and confidential consultation.

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