What Exactly is an Internet Sex Crime?
You might be surprised at what exactly constitutes an internet sex crime. For a moment, the combination of words sounds counterintuitive. After all, it seems as though a sex offense would involve some physical act or assault. How can that possibly happen unless two parties meet in person? More than likely, you already know that downloading child pornography is against the law. In the meantime, other cyber-sex crimes involve children.
Although the definition of sexting also includes using a mobile phone to send racy messages, the real problem occurs when explicit images are passed on. Even teenagers themselves can face legal consequences for exchanging sexually suggestive or nude pictures. As part of its Digital Technology Investigations Unit, the New Jersey State Police conducts investigations into individuals who use computers to exploit children. One of the goals of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) concerns identifying suspects attempting to lure children.
- You may recall the reality series that focused on catching adults attempting to entice minors into sexual encounters. The ICAC conducts similar sting operations. This often involves undercover law enforcement officials posing as underage children.
- Last fall, the Task Force arrested 24 men and accused them of using an online video game to engage in sexual conversations with young teens. Even though they were really talking to detectives, the defendants face charges of luring minors for sex.
Sextortion is an Internet Sex Crime
Internet sex crimes may also include some form of blackmail. Called sextortion, it can take on life in a few ways. In some cases, the unsuspecting victim signs up to view live-feed pornographic videos. In others, a stranger entices them to watch them via a personal webcam. The victim may engage in self-pleasure – not realizing that a camera records his or her actions. A ransom request follows almost immediately instructing the victim to pay money or risk exposure.
Meanwhile, sextortion also occurs when someone threatens to post sexually explicit pictures or videos taken between consenting adults. It doesn’t matter if the request includes money or demands for sexual acts. A decade ago, a Wisconsin man set up a fake profile posing as a girl on Facebook. He then contacted 31 male classmates and suggested they send them nude photographs. Some of my classmates were as young as 15. The young men all figured they would receive naked pictures in return.
- To protect the release of their sexually explicit photographs, the victims faced demands for sexual acts. Ultimately, the defendant pled guilty to sexual assault charges, including sexual assault of more than one child.
Penalties for Internet Sex Crimes
What happens if you are charged with an internet sex crime? You could face charges on both the state and federal levels. For starters, you risk imprisonment and are limited as far as getting out early for good behavior.
However, there’s more. If convicted, you will most likely find that you need to register as a sex offender. If you decide to move to a new town or city, you must make sure law enforcement authorities are aware of your relocation.
You might not realize the serious nature of some of these internet sex crimes. If you find yourself facing charges, you need experienced legal advice. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we will sit down with you and discuss your options concerning a criminal defense. Give us a call to set up a meeting.
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