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New York Penal Law § 235.22: Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree

New York Penal Law § 235.22 defines the crime of Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree. This offense occurs when an individual, who is 18 years of age or older, knowingly disseminates or displays any indecent material to a person under the age of 17, or induces or employs a person under the age of 17 to engage in sexual conduct for the purpose of producing material that is obscene or indecent.

Indecent material is any material that, when considered as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest of minors, and is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community as a whole with respect to what is suitable for minors. Sexual conduct refers to acts of masturbation, sexual intercourse, or physical contact with a person’s intimate body parts, whether clothed or unclothed.


People v. Fuentes, 87 A.D.3d 1089 (2d Dept. 2011). In this case, the defendant was charged with disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree after he sent explicit text messages to a 13-year-old girl. The defendant argued that the statute was unconstitutional because it violated his First Amendment rights, but the court rejected this argument.

The court held that the statute was narrowly tailored to serve the compelling government interest of protecting minors from harmful sexual material. The court noted that the statute only applied to those who knowingly disseminated such material to minors, and did not apply to private, non-commercial communications between adults.

The court also rejected the defendant's argument that the statute was unconstitutionally vague, noting that the statute provided fair notice of what conduct was prohibited. Ultimately, the defendant was convicted of disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree.

This case highlights the serious consequences of being charged with this offense and the importance of seeking the advice and representation of an experienced New York criminal lawyer if facing such charges.

Related Offenses
  1. Obscenity in the third degree. Section 235.05
  2. Obscenity in the second degree. Section 235.06
  3. Obscenity in the first degree. Section 235.07
  4. Disseminating indecent material to minors in the second degree. Section 235.21

The sentence for violating New York Penal Law § 235.22, Disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree, can include a term of imprisonment of up to 7 years, a fine of up to $5,000, and a term of post-release supervision of up to 5 years. A conviction for this offense will also result in a criminal record and the requirement to register as a sex offender under New York's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA).

Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors in the First Degree: New York Penal Law Section 235.22

A person is guilty of disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree when:

  1. knowing the character and content of the communication which, in whole or in part, depicts or describes, either in words or images actual or simulated nudity, sexual conduct or sado-masochistic abuse, and which is harmful to minors, he intentionally uses any computer communication system allowing the input, output, examination or transfer, of computer data or computer programs from one computer to another, to initiate or engage in such communication with a person who is a minor; and
  2. by means of such communication he importunes, invites or induces a minor to engage in sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct, or sexual contact with him, or to engage in a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance, or sexual conduct for his benefit.

Disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree is a class D felony.

Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates

New York Penal Law § 235.22- Disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree is a serious crime that carries severe consequences. If you or someone you know is charged with this offense, it is crucial to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal attorney serving New York who can provide you with the best possible defense. An experienced attorney will investigate the case thoroughly, challenge the prosecution's evidence, and fight for your rights in court. They can negotiate plea deals or argue for lesser charges and reduced sentencing if necessary. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County.

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