The rise of the Internet has given way to more discreet forms of online child abuse and child pornography. Law enforcement agencies daily monitor the Internet to catch perpetrators in the act of abusing children. Just in the U.S., sex predators use over 40,000 chat boxes to engage in sexual conversation with children.
Child sex crimes are so prevalent that there are multiple categories that criminals can be charged with. These charges are serious and have the potential to ruin your reputation, at the very least. If you’ve been accused of a crime against a child, you’ll need the help of a lawyer to get you through the case.
Exploitation of children
Child pornography is the viewing, displaying and sharing of sexual images of children under 18. There are various methods such as viewing child pornography on the computer, sharing those files or setting up children for sexual exploitation.
Those who consume child pornography might go on to commit violent acts against children—at least that’s the reasoning behind why lawmakers enact strict penalties for this internet sex crime. The FBI, law enforcement and Homeland Security sometimes use a SWAT team to bring perpetrators to justice.
They even use the help of the Internet to capture predators. Prominent search engines like Bing, Google, and Yahoo constantly search the Internet for disturbing files through complex algorithms. These files with their computer addresses and web servers are sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for scrutiny and review. Afterward, child pornographic images are sent to the FBI.
Soliciting a minor online
At times, children access video chat rooms and display themselves to others they believe to be fellow children. However, adult perpetrators can enter these chatrooms and pretend to be children. They may engage the children in various types of sexual activity or blackmail children into sending them sexually explicit material.
Predators have several electronic tools at their disposal to catch their next prey; they can use emails, texts or Facebook messages to meet their next victims. In addition, they can download pornographic images from their computers, mobile phones and iPads.
Such crimes could be punishable by several years in prison, up to a life sentence.
Sexting a child
Mobile phones are convenient for sexual activity; anyone could send naked pictures of themselves to others. If law enforcement catches an adult sending nude and sexually explicit photos of themselves to minor children, they will be subject to prosecution. An adult predator who distributes such images to other mobile users will have committed a felony offense.
In some areas, the district attorney may decline to prosecute adults in child pornography cases if the adult in question is less than 2 years older than the child.
Snapchat sex crimes
Snapchat is a fun way to meet people and display photos of yourself online, but predators have corrupted this social app. A child could use Snapchat to send sexually explicit photos or videos to the perpetrator, whether by choice or coercion. The possession of nude child photos with the possible intent of distribution is a crime.
Such crimes can lead to arrest and incarceration.
Sending inappropriate selfies to a minor
Children these days love taking pictures, and there’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself. However, if children take nude pictures of themselves and then distribute them to friends, it is considered a crime. This type of action can be subject to prosecution for the perpetrator and a minor. Though, punishments for minors are not as severe as adult punishments.
The federal and state governments are responsible for proving motive and intent for possession and distribution. Punishment for offenses can range from several years in prison or for the accused to register as a sex offender.
If you’ve been charged with an internet sex crime that involves a child, reach out to an attorney in your area immediately.