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Online Solicitation of a Minor

The Internet provides a great deal of freedom, especially when it comes to communication. Unfortunately, some people choose to misuse that freedom for illegal purposes. When an adult engages in inappropriate communications with a minor over the Internet, the safety of that minor can be jeopardized. When the nature of such contact is sexual, criminal charges may apply.

Online Solicitation of a Minor

Soliciting a minor online occurs when a person aged 17 or older uses email, chat or other Internet communication in an attempt to engage in sexual conduct with a person under age 17. Sexual conduct can include explicit language, propositioning a minor for sex or exchanging lewd or obscene images.

Criminal charges can also apply if an adult over 17 tries to initiate sexual contact with a person who presents themselves as if they are under age 17, even if they are older. This is the case in many sting operations that attempt to catch online predators.

Penalties for Soliciting a Minor for Sex Online

The punishments for online predators are based on the penalties for similar and related offenses, such as child pornography or sex with a minor. However, in cases involving online predators, actual sexual activity does not have to occur for a conviction to be secured. The punishments can vary based on the nature of a particular case but the most general penalties are:

The penalties can significantly increase for inappropriate communications with a minor under the age of 14 or a person who presents themselves as under age 14. These punishments can include:

In addition to these punishments, many people who are convicted for propositioning a minor for sex online are required to report to local law enforcement so that they can be registered in a sex offender database. In most instances, this registration is required for the remainder of the registrant’s life.

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