At a time when awareness of sex crimes against children is at an all-time high, so are the enforcement and penalties for those who are convicted of them. Police departments nationwide have pledged to put a stop to these crimes by devoting more officers and resources to the problem. That includes the Internet, where so many sex crimes are initiated.
Yet for all the publicity this issue has received, many suspects are still caught off-guard. A man from Brookfield, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee, was charged last week with using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime. According to court documents, he was arrested at a convenience store where he had a meeting with whom he thought would be a 15-year-old girl. But the girl was actually an undercover female agent.
The agent was working in an online chat room, in search of people doing exactly what the arrested man is accused of: engaging in sexually explicit conversations with children. She recorded her conversations with the man, which continued over the course of two weeks and included the exchange of photographs, according to a criminal complaint. If the man is convicted, he could face up to 40 years in prison, $100,000 in fines or both.
It's important to remember that arrests for Internet crimes such as online solicitation of a minor often happen because a suspect's computer activity can easily be recorded. If you have conversations with someone online, they can be used as evidence against you in court. An experienced criminal defense attorney can analyze this evidence and determine whether it's enough for a conviction, and what your options are from there.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brookfield man charged in Internet child sex sting," Matthew Bin Han Ong, Dec. 10, 2011