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After watching the show how to catch a preditor I started

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After watching the show "how to catch a preditor" I started wondering... if an adult starts chatting with someone online who states they are over 21, different texts and even pictures are shared, then the "other" person tells the adult they are actually under 18, could that adult face charges?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 6 years ago.
The answer to your question would depend on the specific law involved. However, in general, states have laws that prohibit, among other things, possessing pictures of minors showing certain portions of their bodies. Knowledge of whether the person is a minor is, often, not an element of the crime. So, just like statutory rape charges can be brought even when a minor lies to the perpetrator about his/her age and claims to be over 18, charges can be brought for other crimes against minors even though the perpetrator believed the person to be of age. It is a "let the buyer be ware" situation on many of these laws. Of course, the criminal justice system is going to come down a lot harder where there is intent than where there isn't.


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
what kind of evidence is needed to be charged with a crime? If the only way a picture was shared (just one picture of the guys private, no face), false name was given, and the picture was through a cell phone.
Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 6 years ago.
Charging of a crime is within the discretion of the prosecuting attorney.

The prosecuting attorney would need to have a good faith belief that all "elements" of the crime could be shown. In this case, while we are not talking about any particular statute, one of the elements would clearly be that the picture is of someone who is underage. So, the prosecuting attorney would need some information/evidence to show that. That could take the form of, for example, testimony from the victim.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

ok last reply,

 

the picture is not of the minor, the picture is of an adult that was sent to a minor.... also what state would the charges be filled in?

Expert:  Onpointlegal replied 6 years ago.
Oh... well, that is probably also illegal under many state statutes.

As far as what state, it could be in either the state that the photograph was sent from or the state it was sent to. Or, both. It would be up to the discretion of prosecuting attorneys in both states.

I wish you the best with this situation. If you have followup issues, I am happy to help. I would appreciate your pressing accept so that I can be paid. I will still be available to work with you on followup issues. Thank you.


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Onpointlegal, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience: Attorney with 20+ years of experience
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