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Is Lolicon Legal in the United States?

Posted on May 12, 2022 in

Yes, Lolicon—animated renderings of kids engaged in sex—is illegal in the United States, just like all other forms of child porn.

Making, possessing, and/or distributing child pornography is against state and federal laws. All photographs and videos of children engaged in sexual activity, even simulated activity, are classified as child porn. Because of this, “lolicon,” which is animated child pornography, is also illegal. If you have been charged with creating, possessing, or distributing animated child porn, you need to seek legal assistance immediately to negate the outcome of the charges against you. 

Lolicon Explained

Japanese anime is extremely popular, not just in the U.S., but around the world. Loli is a type of Japanese anime that depicts juvenile cartoon characters in sexually explicit scenes and situations, with plots that are also sexualized. Lolicon involves underage girls, while “shotacon” involves underage boys. 

The PROTECT Act of 2003

Under the PROTECT Act of 2003, lolicon is illegal in the U.S. This law prohibits obscene images of children in all possible forms. The act was partially created with the aim of making virtual child porn illegal, despite the fact that the characters involved are not real children.

Since lolicon depicts identifiable children engaged in sex, it is a violation of U.S. federal and state laws. Possessing lolicon in any form can result in an arrest. Lolicon is legal in some countries but frowned upon in others, including the UK where it is punishable under its obscenity laws. 

First Amendment Protection? 

One form of virtual kiddie porn known as hentai, which is a cartoon depiction of sexual or abusive acts involving children, was the subject of a SCOTUS ruling. In Ashcroft v. The Free Speech Coalition, the constitutionality of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 was challenged, with claims that it violated the right to free speech in the case of hentai. 

In the Ashcroft case, the U.S. government argued that virtual child porn such as hentai encourages the actions of pedophiles, and prohibiting such materials can reduce child victimization. SCOTUS disagreed, though, finding that virtual child porn like hentai does not depict the abuse or sexualization of an actual child, which makes it fall under the classification of free speech. The caveat, however, is that the work is not made using children and the images depicted are totally fictitious. 

Based on SCOTUS’ decision in Ashcroft, hentai is one form of virtual child pornography that is legal, provided the children depicted are fictitious. Still, as a general rule, virtual child porn is illegal in most forms. 

Facing a Lolicon Charge? 

If you have been indicted or arrested due to manufacturing, possessing, or distributing lolicon or related virtual child porn, the charges against you are pretty serious. Seek legal help right away from the Houston criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of David A. Breston. Reach out to our team by dialing (713) 804-6492, or fill out this form to schedule a consultation and review of your case.