While the trend may not be new or as old as the Internet itself, sexual crimes committed on the Internet have garnered more professional and social attention as of late. There are several types of Internet sex crimes, which extend into definition child pornography, though this may be the most publicized example of the crime and, by far, the most commonly perpetrated.
For example, soliciting chats of a sexual nature from any vulnerable person (which can include someone unable to make the decision for him or herself, as well as children)—or asking that person to send a sexual photo of him or herself—is considered an Internet crime. Asking a minor to meet somewhere with sexual intentions, whether they are complicit in it or not, is considered the sexual online crime of “luring.”
There are both criminal and social consequences to this type of behavior. Because online sexual offenses are considered legally the same as non-online sexual crimes, they are subject to laws that can affect a person’s record and social standing for years, even after the due punishment time has been served. Regardless, statistics show that these types of crimes have steadily increased in recent years with the proliferation of the Internet and online lives. As such, 13 percent of minor-aged Internet users report having been the subject of unwanted sexual solicitations online, and only slightly less than that—9 percent—have been witness to distressing sexual material while browsing the Web.
Sexting and Teens
The lines between what is acceptable and not continue to blur, as more and more kids have access to technology that places arguably-inappropriate demands on them to present a hyper-sexualized image of themselves in social media and through texting. Sexual abuse via smartphones is even more alarmingly trending: Fifteen percent of teenagers aged 12 to 17 who own cell phones report having received a nude or seminude sexual photo from someone they know via text.
If you or someone you know has been accused of an Internet sex crime, it is imperative to immediately speak with an attorney before trying to handle the incident on your own. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney today.