Normally when we think of people accused of Internet crimes, we assume the person is young enough to be computer savvy, which is somewhat necessary for sex crimes such as online solicitation of a minor. But a recent case in Wisconsin demonstrates that you don't have to be a young technical whiz to be suspected of such a crime.
An 80-year-old man from Delafield, Wisconsin, was arrested last week and charged in Milwaukee County Court with one count of using a computer to facilitate a sex crime. Like many defendants accused of this crime, the man was caught through the use of an undercover detective. The detective contacted the man because police said he had put an ad on Craigslist seeking young men in the Waukesha area. Although many such ads specify a minimum age, the defendant's did not. But when the undercover detective identified himself as 15 years old, the man initially declined. He only conceded that he might change his mind after further conversing with the undercover detective, according to a criminal complaint.
The man was arrested at the end of December in a parking lot where police said he'd arranged to meet with the "boy." When officers questioned him about messages he'd sent the detective about sexual activity, the man said he was only responding to the detective's bragging about his anatomy and wasn't necessarily going to touch him.
Oftentimes when undercover agents communicate with people they suspect are sex offenders or predators, they engage suspects with leading questions in hopes of getting them to admit to desires and prompt them to arrange a meeting. The octogenarian in this case landed squarely where police wanted him, and as a result he may be convicted and sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.
It's important to remember that online solicitation and other sex crimes are prosecuted very aggressively. If you're accused of such a crime, you'll need an equally aggressive defense that digs deep into the methods police used to find and charge you.
Source: Waukesha Patch, "Delafield Man, 80, Caught in Undercover Milwaukee Sex Sting," Joe Petrie, Jan. 25, 2012