Tennessee

Population

6,346,105

Population 0‑18

23.6%

Internet Users

69.1%
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2007 - The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police (TACP), an organization that seeks to improve the professionalism and communication between police chiefs and other officials within Tennessee, set up a public education campaign “Delete Online Predators” to combat internet crimes against children. Targeting parents and middle school students across Tennessee, the campaign distributes Internet safety information and materials to schools across the state.

2008 - The state’s legislature passed a law that made it mandatory for school districts to file Internet safety policy documents with the Commissioner of Education on a biannual basis. Included in the minimum standards which were laid down (full details of which are contained in the Legislation section) was the requirement to include an Internet safety module within the curriculum. The standards for ‘Computer Technology: Literacy and Usage’ require students to comprehend the importance of ethical, social and human issues associated with technology from as early as kindergarten.

2012 - To be eligible for E-Rate funding, in addition to compliance with CIPA, schools will also need to certify that they will educate students with regard to safe online behavior. Passed into law in January 2008, the ‘Protecting Children in the 21st Century Act’, Section 215 (titled ‘Promoting Online Safety in Schools’) inserts Section 254(h)(5)(B) (iii) of the Communications Act of 1934, requiring each school to certify that ”as part of its Internet safety policy, [it] is educating minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response”. The certification has to be made no later than 120 days after the beginning of the first program funding year, or as part of the application process for any subsequent year (Section 254(h)(5)(E)).

This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

In the state of Tennessee, felonies carry the following penalties, unless otherwise specified:

  • Class A felony: minimum term of fifteen and maximum term of 60 years’ imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $50,000 may be levied.
  • Class B felony: minimum term of eight and maximum term of 30 years’ imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $25,000 may be levied.
  • Class C felony: minimum term of three and maximum term of fifteen years’ imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $10,000 may be levied.
  • Class D felony: minimum term of two and maximum term of twelve years’ imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $5,000 may be levied.
  • Class E felony: minimum term of one year’s and maximum term of six years’ imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $3,000 may be levied.

Misdemeanor crimes carry the following penalties, unless otherwise specified:

  • Class A misdemeanor: up to eleven months and 29 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $2,500.
  • Class B misdemeanor: up to six months in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $500.
  • Class C misdemeanor: up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $50.

  • Tennessee Code Annotated (TCA) 39-13-502. Aggravated Rape. The offense is defined as the unlawful sexual penetration of the victim by the defendant when force or coercion is used, serious bodily injury results, or the defendant is aided or abetted by one or more persons. This is deemed to be a Class A felony.

  • TCA 39-13-503. Rape. States that it is a crime for a person to engage in sexual penetration without the consent of the victim. This is deemed to be a Class B felony.

  • TCA 39-13-504. Aggravated Sexual Battery. Defined, among other things, as the unlawful sexual contact where force is used or where bodily injury results, or with a child under thirteen. This is a Class B felony.
  • TCA 39-13-505. Sexual Battery. This section covers unlawful sexual contact with a person where force, fraud or coercion is used. This offense is a Class E felony.

  • TCA 39-13-506. Statutory Rape. This is the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant. Where the victim is at least fifteen but under eighteen and where the defendant is at least four years older but not more than five years older it is defined as mitigated statutory rape. The penalty for this is a Class E felony. Statutory rape occurs where the victim is at least thirteen years of age but under fifteen and the defendant is at least four years older but less than ten years older than the victim. This offense is also a Class E felony. The same offense is committed when the victim is aged between fifteen and eighteen and the defendant is between five and ten years older than them. Aggravated statutory rape occurs when the victim is at least thirteen but less than eighteen and the defendant is at least ten years older than the victim. This offense is deemed to be a Class D felony.

  • TCA 39-13-509. Sexual Contact with a Minor – Sexual Contact by an Authority Figure. States that it is unlawful to engage in sexual contact with a minor who is at least thirteen but under eighteen years of age, when the offender is at least four years older than the victim and in a position of trust or supervisory power over the minor. This is a Class A misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000.

  • TCA 39-13-511. Public Indecency – Indecent Exposure. It is defined as public indecency to engage in sexual intercourse, masturbation, to appear in a state of nudity or to fondle one’s genitals in a public place. A first or second offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. A third or subsequent offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,500 fine and/or imprisonment for up to eleven months and 29 days. This section also defines indecent exposure, which a person commits where they expose their genital or engage in sexual contact or penetration in a public place. This is a Class B misdemeanor unless a child under thirteen is the victim, in which case it is a Class A misdemeanor. The section also allows a harsher penalty for enticing a child to the offender’s place of residence for the purposes of performing such acts. This offense is deemed to be a Class E felony if the offender is over the age of eighteen, the victim is under the age of thirteen and the offender has two or more previous convictions under this section. These sections exempt mothers nursing their child who is twelve months or younger in any location, public or private.

  • TCA 39-13-522. Rape of a Child. This offense is defined as the unlawful sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant, if the victim is more than three years of age but less than thirteen. This is a Class A felony and carries a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 25 years.

  • TCA 39-13-523. Punishment for Certain Child Sexual Predators. This section lists various categories of offenses and states that those convicted are not eligible for early-release programs or for credits due to good behavior to be used in order to reduce the minimum sentences laid down by the court at sentencing. This occurs to offenses committed after July 2007.

  • TCA 39-13-528. Offense of Solicitation of a Minor. This section states that it is unlawful for an adult to communicate with a minor under the age of eighteen with the intent to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with that minor. This includes communication through the internet, email or by phone. A violation of this section shall constitute an offense one classification lower than the most serious crime solicited. Offenders may be prosecuted by the state, whether or not they are physically based there, if the communication was received by a minor or a law enforcement officer posing as a minor who was located in the state at the time of the offense. This offense is constituted as one classification lower than the most serious crime solicited, unless the offense solicited was a Class E felony, in which case the offense shall be a Class A misdemeanor.

  • TCA 39-13-529. Offense of Soliciting Sexual Exploitation of a Minor – Exploitation of a Minor by Electronic Means. States that it is a crime for an adult to, by means of oral, written, or electronic communication, email or Internet service (including webcam communications), persuade, hire or cause a minor to engage in sexual activity that is patently offensive. This is a Class B felony offense. The section also states that any adult to uses electronic communication to engage in offensive sexual activity for the purpose of having the minor view this, or to display to a minor any material containing sexual activity for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the minor or the offender. This is deemed to be a Class E felony, unless the minor is under the age of thirteen, which aggravated the offense to a Class C felony.

  • TCA 39-13-531. Aggravated Rape of a Child. This section defines the crime of subjecting a child under the age of three to sexual penetration. This is a Class A felony and the section states that it must be sentenced within Range III of the sentencing guidelines (TCA 40-35-112) which imposes a minimum term of 40 years’ imprisonment and a maximum sentence of 60 years’ imprisonment.

  • TCA 39-13-532. Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure. This defines the offense of sexual intercourse where the victim is aged between thirteen and eighteen and the offender is at least four years older and in a position of authority, which they have used to accomplish the act. This is deemed to be a Class C felony and those found guilty are ineligible for probation.

  • TCA 39-13-605. Unlawful Photographing in Violation of Privacy. Deems it to be a Class A misdemeanor to photograph someone without their consent for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the defendant, or to offend or embarrass the victim. Any images are subject to confiscation and subsequent destruction by the authorities. This is a Class A misdemeanor: though should the images have been disseminated (or permitted to be disseminated) by the offender, the offense is increased to a Class E felony.

  • TCA 39-13-607. Observation Without Consent. States that it is an offense for a person to knowingly spy upon, observe or otherwise view an individual, in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent where the purpose is sexual gratification or such viewing would offend or embarrass an ordinary person. This is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor.

  • TCA 39-17-308. Harassment. Defines the offense as threatening by means including the Internet or email, causing fright, intimidation or emotional distress. Also included in the definition is to communicate with another person or to transmit or display an image which will be viewed by the victim with the same intent as mentioned above. The offense is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor. Distributing an image is deemed a delinquent act is committed by a minor, punishable by up to 30 hours of community service. The section also states that any service provider will not be held accountable.

  • TCA 39-17-315. Stalking, Aggravated Stalking, and Especially Aggravated Stalking. Stalking is defined as a willful course of conduct which involved repeated or continuing harassment of an individual, which causes them to feel terrorized, threatened intimidated, harassed or molested, among other definitions. The course of conduct includes the sending of mail or electronic communications to the victim. Stalking is deemed to be a Class A misdemeanor. Aggravated stalking applies (among other criteria) where the offender carries a weapon or the victim is aged under the age of eighteen and the offender is five or more years older than them. Aggravated stalking under those circumstances is deemed to be a Class E felony. Where the offender is convicted of a second or subsequent offense involving the same victim, they are guilty of Especially Aggravated Stalking which is deemed to be a Class C felony.

  • TCA 39-17-902. Producing, Importing, Preparing, Distributing, Processing or Appearing in Obscene Material or Exhibition – Distribution to or Employment of Minors. States that it is unlawful to distribute or to possess with intent to distribute any obscene material. This is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, rising to a Class E felony subsequently. Furthermore, under this section it is unlawful to hire any minor to participate in any obscene behavior. This is a Class E felony with a fine between $10,000 and $100,000.

  • TCA 39-17-911. Sale, Loan or Exhibition of Material to Minors. States that it is a crime to make any obscene material available to minors under the age of eighteen. Obscene material covers content which depicts nudity, sexual conduct, excess violence, or sadomasochistic abuse, and that is harmful to minors. This is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • TCA 39-17-914. Display for Sale or Rental of Material Harmful to Minors. States that it is unlawful to display any visual depiction that is harmful to minors, unless reasonable steps are taken to prevent them seeing it. This is a Class C misdemeanor for each day that it is in view.

  • TCA 39-17-1003. Offense of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. This section states that it is against the law for a person to possess material that includes a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive. This is deemed to be a Class D felony, with each image possessed being a separate charge. Where there are over 50 images it becomes a Class C felony and if there are more than 100 it is a Class B felony.

  • TCA 39-17-1004. Offense of Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. Defines the offense as to promote, sell, distribute etc any material that includes a minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive. This is a Class C felony except where more than 25 images are possessed in which case it is a Class B felony.

  • TCA 39-17-1005. Offense of Especially Aggravated Sexual Exploitation of a Minor. States that it is an offense for a person to promote, employ or use a minor to participate in the performance of, or in the production of, acts or material that includes the minor engaging in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that is patently offensive. This is a Class B felony and may be prosecuted by the state where either the offender or victim were located there at the time of the offense.

  • TCA 49-1-221. Policy on Use of Internet Filing of Policy Contents. This section requires that every two years every Director of schools must file an acceptable use policy with the Commissioner of Education. The section states that at minimum the plan must contain provisions that are designed to prohibit inappropriate use by employees and students of the school district; seek to prevent access to harmful material by minors; use filtering or blocking technology to exclude child pornography and obscenity from computers with Internet access; establish appropriate measures to use against those who violate the policy; include a component on Internet safety that must be included in the school district’s instructional program and encourage communication with parents through existing channels such as parent-teacher meetings to raise awareness about Internet safety. This section became law on July 1, 2008.

  • TCA 49-6-1016. Development of Policy Regarding Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying or Cyber Bullying. Requires each school district to adopt a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, bullying or cyberbullying. The policy should include definitions, expected behavior, reporting and investigating procedures, as well as consequences and remedial action for anyone guilty of the above.