Information and messaging in an instant no matter which part of the globe you are in – this is where today’s technology has brought us, to make communication and access to information faster, easier and much more convenient. However, like any other new invention, no matter how good the intent of its maker is, once it falls into wrong hands, then damaging results are most certainly to follow.
The Internet. While it has made every bit of information readily available through simple clicks of buttons, it has also enabled certain individuals, who intend to accomplish criminal activities, to hack into private government and personal records to commit cyber fraud, cyber-based terrorism, computer intrusions, espionage, and internet sex crimes.
Though it may be considered a less serious offense compared to the other criminal acts mentioned, internet sex crime, nonetheless, has become an alarming concern to the government due to the very damaging effects it causes in those affected and the perfect ease with which perpetrators accomplish it.
Through wired or wireless access to networks, sexual offenders are able to create and disseminate speedily different forms of sexually offensive and abusive materials and sexually-tainted messages, such as photos depicting child pornography and solicitation efforts, which often lead to contact offenses, like sexual assault or rape.
Data from the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA), a global, multi-disciplinary organization committed to preventing sexual abuse, show that trading and posting on-line of child pornography and sexual chats with children, adolescents or any vulnerable persons, first to convince them to produce or view pornographic images and, second, to arrange with them a face-to-face meeting (for the committance of the crime), are the most common forms of internet sex offenses. What is alarming, however, is the fact that many teenagers freely meet with an adult offender, sometimes more than once, and even describe such meetings as romantic occasions.
Equally disturbing are data from the US Department of Justice’s National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), which say that:
- A number of teenagers and young adults have, indeed, willingly shared with others online or through text messaging (“sexting”) naked pictures of themselves
- Many of those who end up as victims of internet sex crimes openly talk about sexual topics even with people they do not know and have sexually provocative photos/videos posted online
- Quite a large number of teenagers and young adults are open to, and have actually participated in, sexting (which means sending of sexually explicit messages, usually with images, from one mobile phone to another)
The extent and severity of harm against the victim and the continuous growth in the number of perpetrators of internet sex crime made the government mobilize legal and investigative teams with the major task of identifying and prosecuting, especially child pornography, offenders in order to reduce and eliminate this type of indecent, criminal activity. But how guilty can one really be judged if the identified victim willingly and voluntarily participated in the whole act, maybe even showed motive which led the accused into thinking that his or her sexual advances were welcome moves?
Unless proven guilty, an accused can never be treated like a criminal; however, it will be a tough task to prove one’s innocence, especially if the victim, or a witness, identifies him or her as the committer of the crime.
Anyone who is accused of any crime has a right to a fair trial and to a type of defense that may save him or her from a conviction or which may help reduce sentence if a conviction is imminent. Understanding one’s legal rights if charged with an internet sex crime is vital as this will help the accused know what steps to take to save him/herself from being convicted and his or her future from being ruined. Many websites (belonging to different law firms) offer vital information on the rights of an accused and his or her possible legal options. To learn more about criminal defense laws, visit this website.Read More