I'm Accused of Being an Online Predator

I'm Accused of Being an Online Predator

Is someone accusing you of being an online predator? If so, you have probably been in contact with a minor and now they’re parents have likely gotten involved. What does it mean to be an online predator and what are the consequences for the accused?

Let’s take a look at the facts about online predators:

  • Most predators (95%) don’t pretend to be kids. Instead, they’ll typically admit that they’re older, which is particularly appealing to minors between the ages of 12 and 15.
  • Once a predator has selected a target, they’ll begin what’s been dubbed the “grooming phase.” They’ll friend the child’s contacts and engage in increasingly personal conversations to gain the child’s trust. Finally, they’ll request an offline meeting.
  • Predators usually target kids who post revealing pictures.
  • Girls are more frequently victims.
  • The prime ages targeted are 12 to 15-year-olds.

(Source: Common Sense Media)

“Direct access to unsuspecting children via e-mail, instant messaging, social networking sites, and chat rooms simplifies the sexual predator’s efforts to contact and groom children. Additionally, some teens are placing themselves at risk and willingly talk about sexual matters with online acquaintances,” according to Internet Safety 101.

Predators Violating State & Federal Laws

In California, the age of consent is 18. This means it’s against the law for an adult age 18 or older to have sex with a minor, which is someone who is under the age of 18. It doesn’t matter if the minor engaged in consensual sex, under the law a minor cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse.

Some states have a Romeo and Juliet law on the books that protect adults who have sex with minors who are close to their age. But California does NOT have such a law. To learn more about California’s statutory rape law, see Section 261.5(a) of the Penal Code.

Under Section 311.11(a) of the California Penal Code, possession of child pornography is a felony offense, punishable by up to one year in jail or state prison, or by a fine up to $2,500, or by a fine and imprisonment. But it doesn’t end there.

Child pornography is also criminalized under federal law. Under 18 U.S.C. § 2251, a first-time offender who produces child pornography faces between 15 and 30 years in prison.

Are you accused of being an online predator and targeting a minor under the age of 18? If so, your future and your freedom are at risk. Contact our firm to schedule a confidential free case evaluation.

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