The answer is yes. 

If you take innocent images of real children–even those you did not create yourself–and convert them into something sexual, you can be charged with child pornography. However, there is an exception if you used entirely virtual children, in other words, if you did not depict an actual child.

            For example, in People v. McKown, the defendant had created a collage of actual children’s pictures cut from parenting magazines and combined them in a sexually explicit manner with images of male sex organs.  The defendant argued that his collages were not a record of actual sex acts, and that no children were harmed.  Further, criminalizing his collages violated the first amendment. The court disagreed stating that the purpose of the child pornography law was to prevent the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and that such images were harmful to the child’s reputation and emotional well being. Furthermore, the First Amendment does not protect child pornography.

            If you have been charged with child pornography or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately.  An attorney can review your case for its best possible defense.  Was the search that uncovered your images lawful?  If not, an attorney can petition the court to suppress the results of the search?  Can the state prove all the elements of your offense beyond a reasonable doubt?  Are the images truly pornographic?  Be aware that different judges may see the same facts differently.  An attorney who is familiar with the opinions of  your particular judge may be able to more effectively present your defense.

            If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

See also the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision reviewing the above case in People v. McKown.   

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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