In addition to all the good things the advent of the Internet has brought to a worldwide audience, it has encouraged some bad activities as well, including Internet Sex Crimes. These are criminal offenses of a sexual nature that are facilitated by the use of the internet.
Internet Sex Crimes
There is a long list of offenses that come under this umbrella term, Internet Sex Crimes. Almost anything that is a regular sex crime can have a similar outlet online these days. If not used to promote and sell visual pornography, criminals use electronic communications to entice vulnerable people, especially minor children, to become involved in pornographic activities.
By definition, typical sex crimes include activities of a sexual nature that harm the mind or body of another person. Obvious physical examples include rape, sexual battery, prostitution, pimping, pandering, indecent exposure and penetration of the genital or anal region. On the Internet, sex crimes are necessarily more of a visual/mental nature. Online sexual crimes include possession and distribution of child pornography, child enticement for sexual purposes, possession and distribution of obscene sexual materials, showing lewd acts with a child, solicitation of prostitution, and use of other visual materials that are of a sexual nature.
Specific Internet Sex Crimes include these and other related offenses:
- Solicitation of a minor in a chat room
- Use of a web cam for sexual pornography
- Attempted sexual contact with a minor child
- Child endangerment
- Possession/distribution of child pornography
About Massachusetts Internet Sex Crimes Laws
Massachusetts has strict laws about sex crimes and harsh penalties for convicted offenders. Because Internet Sex Crimes generally also involve minor children, the state has created a special task force to monitor Internet crimes against children. The Northwestern District Attorney has a special Child Sexual Predator Task Force that is actively working to find and aggressively prosecute offenders. It has established a text-a-tip line, which allows citizens to report any sex offenders they know of who are violating conditions of release, or who are targeting children using the Internet, distributing or possessing child pornography or otherwise are actively offending. This office also provides training to law enforcement officers, parents and young people to combat the exploitation of children through the Internet.
The laws in Massachusetts against Internet sex crimes define what constitutes the offense, and they set forth harsh penalties that include mandatory sentencing in state prison and fines up to $50,000 or more, depending on the specifics of the offensive behavior.
Criminal Charges for Internet Sex Crimes
Criminal charges for Internet Sex Crimes may be placed at the state or federal levels, depending on the crimes that are part of the offense. Many Internet-related crimes come under Federal jurisdiction, because implementing the scheme means using electronic communication methods that run across state or national borders. Some offenders can be charged at both state and federal levels, again depending on the case specifics.
Charges for these crimes are placed according to where the offenses fit into three general categories: possession, distribution, or creating/allowing a child to engage in pornography. All sex crimes that involve exploitation of minor children are disturbing, but unfortunately, most of the Internet Sex Crimes do involve minor children. Computers may be used to initiate contact with minor children, and then the suspect moves to engage that child in lewd behavior or an actual physical meeting. Some children are assaulted or murdered by sex offenders following initial contact though Internet contact.
When placing criminal charges for Internet Sex Crimes, the charges must prove “lascivious intent” by the perpetrator. Proof may include video or photographic imagery that depicts sexual behavior, genitalia, the pubic area or breast of a female child, the actual pose or attire of the child featured in the pornography, the essence of meaning of the pornography and if it shows a child engaging in sexual contact, and various types of sexual behavior, including intercourse, masturbation and other sexual acts.
Penalties for Internet Sex Crimes
Penalties rendered for conviction on Internet Sex Crimes can be very harsh. This is in part due to the general nature of the offense and that most offenses do include child pornography charges.
Massachusetts has penalties for sex crimes included in state law, General Laws: Part IV-Title 1-Chapter 272 – Section 29c. Other states have equally tough punishments for those convicted of Internet Sex Crimes.
Typical sentences for conviction of these crimes are:
- Possession: 1st Conviction – up to 5 years in state prison, $10,000 fine; 2nd Conviction – 5 year minimum mandatory time in state prison; 3rd Conviction – 10 year minimum mandatory time in state prison.
- Distribution: up to 20 years in state prison, $50,000 fine or 3 times the economic value gained from dissemination of the pornography.
- Creating/Allowing Child Pornography: 10 year minimum mandatory time in state prison or up to 20 years, $50,000 fine.
In addition to jail time and fines, convicted offenders must register with the Sex Offender Registry Board.
Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are suspected of, arrested for, charged with, or you have been convicted for Internet Sex Crimes, you need immediate legal representation from a Criminal Defense Lawyer who is experienced defending clients in this area of law. The lawyer will have won many cases in local and federal courtrooms, and understand the details of Internet Sex Crimes laws at both levels.
Everyone deserves high quality legal defense, no matter how heinous the crime is that they are facing. There are a variety of options to consider for Internet Sex Crimes defense arguments; an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney will have the resources and knowledge needed to help you determine which options to pursue for your individual case. It may be possible to get charges dismissed, reduced or win an appeal on a prior conviction. Take action today to defend your rights and protect your freedom. Call an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately.