United States v. Fredrickson, No. 20-2051 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
S.B., a 16-year-old girl from Illinois, communicated on the internet with Fredrickson, a 27-year-old man from Iowa. Their conversations turned sexually explicit. S.B., at Fredrickson’s request, sent him images and videos of herself. When Fredrickson sent flowers to S.B.’s high school, her mother became suspicious and discovered the relationship, later contacting police. A search of Fredrickson’s cell phone revealed he had been recording the videos and saving the images. Fredrickson possessed at least 15 sexually explicit videos of S.B. on his phone.
Fredrickson was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor under 18 U.S.C. 2251(a): Any person who employs, uses, persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any minor to engage in … any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct … shall be punished … if that visual depiction was produced or transmitted using materials that have been mailed, shipped, or transported in or affecting interstate" commerce.
Fredrickson unsuccessfully moved to dismiss, arguing that under Illinois and Iowa state laws, he could have lawfully viewed S.B. making the videos in person and that 2251(a) criminalized protected expressive speech. Convicted, Fredrickson was sentenced to 200 months’ imprisonment. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting arguments under the First Amendment overbreadth doctrine. Child pornography’s exclusion from the First Amendment’s protection does not hinge on state law.