We're hearing more and more these days about people being arrested and accused of sex crimes against children. But is it because these crimes are on the rise, or simply that law enforcement agencies and prosecutors have pledged to more actively seek out these crimes and push for harsher sentences in reaction to public outrage?
It's fairly safe to say that sex crime investigations are on the rise, regardless of the reason. Those involving Internet crimes have gotten much more sophisticated, both in the technology and undercover tactics used to catch suspects. For example, a 40-year-old man from the Chicago area was indicted by a federal grand jury earlier this month following police allegations that he traveled to Wisconsin to meet a 15-year-old girl for sex.
According to a press release from the U.S. attorney's office, the man began communicating with an undercover agent from the Milwaukee Police Department who was posing as a teenage girl in November 2010. The communication allegedly continued into last month, when the man went to a prearranged location to meet the girl for a sexual encounter, the release said. It was there that police arrested the man, who's since been charged with attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity and traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. Both charges come with significant prison time: a minimum of 10 years to life for the first, and up to 30 years for the second. Each also carries a fine of up to $250,000 and five years to a lifetime of supervised release.
The case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to prevent child sexual exploitation. As the public becomes increasingly aware of the issue of sex crimes against children, cries to punish those accused of such crimes are getting louder. The suspect in this case will need the help of an attorney experienced in defense of sex crimes to ensure he gets a fair trial and, if convicted, a sentence appropriate to the circumstances of the case -- whether or not the public agrees with it.
Source: Highland Park News, "Highland Park man charged with trying to entice minor for sex," Charles Berman, Jan. 9, 2012