July 25, 2014 By Stephen Klarich

Is “The Girl Next Door” a Story of Child Abuse?

The 2004 film “The Girl Next Door,: is a teen comedy about a high school senior who falls in love with his next-door neighbor. Played by Emile Hirsch, the 17-year-old student is completely awestruck when he sees blonde bombshell Danielle move in to the adjacent house. What seems like an innocent teenage love affair quickly spins out of control when he finds out that the neighbor is an ex-porn star.

Is "The Girl Next Door" a Story of Child Abuse
Is “The Girl Next Door” a story of child abuse and sex crimes?

Hirsch’s character Matthew begins to get close with Danielle. They partake in numerous adventures and even attend a friend’s party together. As they begin to get intimate, Matthew fears that his newfound love interest may reenter the porn business. He tracks her down at an adult film convention and convinces her to return home.

After returning home, Matthew is abducted by a furious adult film producer who claims he lost $30,000 when Danielle left the convention. The producer assaults Matthew and gives him ecstasy that he says is aspirin.

When Matthew and Danielle are reunited, they execute a plan to keep the film producer at bay. To recoup the money the producer stole, they decide to film Matthew’s high school friends and two pornstars in a pornographic movie. Matthew and Danielle eventually have sex, and by the movie’s end, the two are shown as being in a relationship.

The movie may sound like a comedic teenage relationship story, but it actually portrays certain crimes that should not be overlooked. At 17 years old, Matthew was a minor. This means that several crimes under California law occurred in the film. Let’s take a look…

California Statutory Rape (Penal Code Section 261.5)

First, let’s consider the seemingly beautiful ending to the film where Matthew and his dream girl are able to pursue a romantic relationship. Unfortunately for them, in the eyes of the law this would not be so romantic. Matthew was an underage high school student at the time, while Danielle was an adult.

According to California Penal Code Section 261.5, statutory rape occurs when any adult engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is under the age of 18. This makes the sexual intercourse that Matthew and Danielle had in The Girl Next Door unlawful, even though it was consensual.

Consequences of Statutory Rape Under California PC Section 261.5

Statutory rape can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case. One of the determinants of the penalty is the age difference between the adult and the minor. If the minor is under the age of 16 and the defendant is 21 or older, the defendant could face up to four years in California state prison.

Sexual Exploitation of Minors (California Penal Code Section 11165.1)

When Danielle recruited her pornstar friends to make a movie with Matthew’s high school friends, she could have been violating California Penal Code Section 11165.1. If his friends were under the age of 18 the film that they produced could land Danielle and her friends in serious legal trouble.

A pornographic film with minors is considered sexual exploitation under California Penal Code Section 11165.1. Danielle participated in sexual exploitation of a minor by:

  • Knowingly promoting or persuading a child to engage in or assist others to engage in a performance including obscene sexual conduct;
  • Filming the sexual conduct between minors and adults; and
  • Depicting children in and knowingly developing a film in which children are involved in sexual conduct.

Consequences of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

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An experienced sex crimes attorney can help you avoid harsh punishments.

Depending on the age of the victim, violating California Penal Code Section 11165.1 can have very harsh consequences.

If the minor is under the age of 14, you could face up to eight years in state prison if convicted of this crime.

If the minor was 14 or 15 and you were at least 10 years older than the child, you could face up to three years in state prison. Even if the minor was 16 or 17, you could face up to four years in state prison if you are 21 or older.

In addition, you will be required to register as a sex offender in California for the rest of your life, if convicted.

Call the Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today

If you or a loved on have been accused of any of the crimes portrayed in “The Girl Next Door,” it is crucial to have an experienced attorney defending you. Your attorney can provide an aggressive defense strategy specific to your situation, and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. Our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have worked tirelessly for over 40 years to successfully defend our clients accused of these types of crimes.

With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, Wallin & Klarich is available to provide round-the-clock support for you no matter where you work or live.

Call us at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 to discuss your case. We will be there when you call.

AUTHOR: Stephen Klarich

Stephen Klarich is a partner at Wallin & Klarich and expert in the field of sex crimes. For over thirty years, Stephen Klarich has been handling criminal cases and matters involving sex offenses. With an unparalleled knowledge of sex crimes defense, Stephen Klarich protects his clients’ rights. Stephen Klarich has experienced significant success in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation or Governor’s Pardon for his clients. Thousands of clients have put their trust in Stephen Klarich and the attorneys at Wallin & Klarich in their time of legal need.

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