By Stephen Sebald:
In this century, almost everyone has access to the internet and many of us have multiple devices capable of internet access. Many children have cell phones with internet capabilities and access to applications like Facebook and Instagram. It’s hard to monitor exactly what your child is doing all of the time while they are on the internet.
Under the law, it is an offense to have unlawful contact with a minor. This is describing as the purpose of engaging in an activity previously prohibited, including: sexual offenses, open lewdness, prostitution and other related offenses, obscene and other sexual materials and performances, sexual abuse of children, and sexual exploitation of children. These different offenses are among the most serious transgressions because they concern the well-beings of children. Being accused of this offense can lead to a tarnished reputation even before investigation begins.
Soliciting a minor to engage in unlawful conduct as described above is a serious offense with penalties mirroring that of the actual offense itself. For instance, a charge for online soliciting a minor would be the same or similar to those for actually engaging that minor in a sexual offense. Though one is solicitation and the other is the actual commission, the penalties are almost the same.
The police often conduct sting operations to try and catch people in the act. Regardless whether you’re caught talking to an actual child or a law enforcement official, the charge is still upheld because it’s determined that you were under the impression you were communicating with a minor with the intent to solicit a minor to engage in unlawful conduct over the internet.
These offenses severe and they lead to strict, harsh punishments for even those simply accused of the crime. However, until proven guilty, a person accused of this transgression deserves to be presumed innocent. If you are accused of an online solicitation with a minor offense, seek the assistance of an attorney immediately. At Sebald, Hackwelder, & Knox, we have years of combined experience as criminal defense lawyers and can fight for your innocence to keep your good name. Call today at (814) 833-1987.