News of charges being filed for the online solicitation for sex with a minor is being seen more and more often in today’s internet-saturated world. The ease of access to the web and to the devices used to connect to popular social media websites has resulted in an increased opportunity for adults to make contact with potential underage victims. A Wisconsin man has apparently taken it upon himself to expose those who he feels may be willing to commit sex crimes by creating a fake Facebook page and then revealing those he feels have committed a punishable offense to the public and the police.
The New Lisbon resident, frustrated after hearing numerous reports of sex crimes against children, has decided to try to expose adult perpetrators by creating an account pretending to be a 15-year-old girl. He says that hits to the site started shortly after he activated the profile, and he has posted a video to his own Facebook page that he claims is an adult male soliciting sex from the girl he was impersonating. He alleges that the man in the video also chatted with him about sex, sent nude pictures of himself and requested to meet him.
Although this approach to finding a suspected online predator isn’t new, a private citizen acting unilaterally to reveal these people can be dangerous. Retaliation and other negative consequences could result from the actions of those who may be wrongfully exposed. The man says that he knows the risks and is willing to take them in order to call out those people that he feels are doing something illegal.
The penalties for a conviction of sex crimes like the solicitation of a minor can be steep and last a lifetime. The legalities of charges being filed as a result of an investigation under these circumstances could be questioned, and possibly rejected in a Wisconsin criminal court. The reduction or elimination of charges can sometimes be achieved but are often dependent upon swiftly engaging a lawyer who can create the strongest possible defense for the accused.
Source: nbc15.com, “Man tries to catch online predators“, Jan. 27, 2017