Internet Sex Offense

The internet has become the tool of the sexual predators that prey upon minors under the age of 18. Congress has enacted laws that are designed to punish this type of illegal sexual conduct. Title 18 United States Code §2422 makes it a federal crime to use the internet to knowingly persuade, induce, or entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. It is also a crime to use the internet to attempt to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity. Committing this offense carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail to life.

Finding persons violating this law is a top priority not only of federal law enforcement authorities but also for Florida and Miami law enforcement authorities. Typically, the law enforcement agents posing on the internet chat lines as a fictitious minor begins communicating with a target interested in having sexual activity with the minor. In other cases, law enforcement poses on line as an adult custodian of a minor waiting to the person interested in having sexual activity with underage minors. Essentially the tactic is to pose as a child or person with access to a child in order to make contact with persons who might be using the internet to lure underage persons for illicit sexual activity.

In one case that went before the court of appeals, a detective with the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Sexual Crimes Bureau signed online using an undercover fictitious male name living with his girlfriend and their 14 year old daughter. The defendant and the detective were communicating by instant messaging when the defendant asked if the daughter played too. When the defendant expressed an interest in meeting the minor, the detective asked the defendant what he wanted to do with the 14 year old. That was when the defendant described acts of explicit sexual conduct. In later conversations, they talked about a time and place to meet and more discussions about the defendant’s interest in having a sexual encounter. When the defendant showed up at the prearranged meeting place, he was arrested and charged with this federal offense. A search of his car revealed he had multi-colored condoms, and mint flavored lubricant

The defendant claimed that he did not complete the sexual act so he can not be prosecuted. The court said that it is still a crime to attempt to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity even if he does not engage in a sex act. Title 18 United States Code §2252 makes is a crime to persuade a minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct of the purpose of producing a visual depiction of the image on a computer or on the internet. A violation carries a minimum sentence of 15 years, and a second offender will receive a 25 year minimum.

The fact that a person is communicating with a law enforcement officer and not a real child is no defense. A fictitious child is still an offense.

If you or someone you know has been arrested, is being investigated, or is accused of committing an internet sex crime, you need an attorney to represent you who has the experience and expertise in criminal law to handle the problem. Ken Swartz , one of the top Miami criminal defense attorneys in the state, is ready to come to your defense.

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