In the 21st century, the internet is the preferred method of contact and communication for most people. While the internet has allowed borders to disappear and facilitated a more global economy, it has also allowed child predators easier access to potentially vulnerable victims. This, in turn, has caused powerful law enforcement agencies to work overtime trying to catch perpetrators with sting operations and internet ruses. Unfortunately, these stings often manage to miss the true child predators and, instead, wind up arresting people whose intentions were far more innocent. If you have been charged with an internet related child sex offense you may have a viable defense available to you; however, only an experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate the unique facts and circumstances of your arrest and offer you advice regarding a possible defense.
In the State of Kansas, the crime of electronic solicitation is defined as solicitation by “means of communication conducted through the telephone, internet or by other electronic means, enticing or soliciting a person, whom the offender believes to be a child, to commit or submit to an unlawful sexual act.” If the alleged victim is between the ages of 14 and 16 electronic solicitation is charged as a severity level 3, person felony. If the perpetrator believes the victim to be under the age of 14, electronic solicitation is charged as a severity level 1, person felony.
The corresponding offense of “enticement of a child” in Missouri occurs when someone “persuades, solicits, coaxes, entices, or lures whether by words, actions or through communication via the internet or any electronic communication, any person who is less than fifteen years of age for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct.” Enticement of a child is a felony offense in Missouri that carries a mandatory term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than 30 years.
If you have been charged with one of these offenses, contact an experienced Kansas or Missouri criminal defense attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected.