By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer
Colorado Internet Sexual Exploitation case investigations often resemble a kind of entrapment. Hefty amounts of Federal funding to the states for these cases has resulted in a major increase in the invesitgation and prosecution of this kind of internet “sting” cases. While these cases are ripe for possible entrapment defenses but they must be evaluated carefully.
The average Defendant in an Internet sex sting case is male (99 percent), white (92 percent), and older than 25 (86 percent). Few are violent in any manner. Some 97 percent acted alone in the crimes of which they are accused. Only 10 percent had prior arrests for sexually offending against minors.
Nearly every suspect (later Defendant) in these cases believe they have been entrapped. But there is a difference between enticement and entrapment …in most cases the suspect will have been enticed and do not have the entrapment defense available to them.
The police officers masquerading as children entice an otherwise disposed perpetrator to commit the crime. Entrapment is commonly defined as the officer overcoming the will of an otherwise unwilling person to commit a crime.
To be mount a successful Entrapment Defense a suspect must do something the suspect would not have done done if he had not been tricked or corerced into committing the crime.
These internet “sting” cases are the result of police officers, men and women, trolling the chat rooms for individuals seeking to meet others. These officers often enter adult chat rooms, hook their prey and reel them in … The entrapment defense can be raised in these cases (see my page on entrapment law) however these cases — by their very nature– are set up to prove in court.
The recent rash of Internet stings in Colorado, conducted by various police departments, introduces a trap – otherwise known as a young girl looking for company – in a chatroom, and lures the unsuspecting young males into a personal meeting with the provocative assumedly 14-year old girl after several hours over many days of chatting online.
The undercover agent is most often a seasoned male or female police officer. The tone of the conversation is nothing short of “enticing erotica.”
In my 36 years as a Colorado Criminal Law attorney, I’ve never seen methods quite like this used before. All potential defenses to the charges, including entrapment and outrageous government conduct.
Who Gets Stung?
Studies show that the majority of arrests resulting from Internet stings fashioned in a manner similar to those being conducted in Colorado are of white thirty-something year old home-owning males with incomes of at least $73,000 per year.
Interestingly enough that is the exact same profile of the most frequent user of the Internet and the source of the majority of Internet commerce.
If you have been arrested for an Internet sex crime or you believe you may be under investigation by the police for an Internet sex crime, get immediate legal help. Contact us your freedom may be at stake.
The penalties for any sex crime are severe, especially if you must register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. But the personal costs of an Internet sex crimes charge can be just as serious as the criminal costs.
It is embarrassing and harmful to family and marriage. If your job requires professional licensure, a security clearance, or involves children, you may lose your job. You may not be allowed to live within a certain distance of a daycare, playground, or school. Even high school kids can be convicted of Internet sex crimes and placed on the sex offender registry.
At The Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm we understand how difficult and stressful this is. We tackle your case aggressively but with discretion and sensitivity. Our goal is to minimize the negative consequences of the Internet sex crime charge or conviction and to get the best possible outcome, given the facts of your case.