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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Could I get in trouble for this Basically 3 or more years

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Could I get in trouble for this? Basically 3 or more years ago i signed up for this chatroom teen forum. It is a site that has all kinds of advice and categories for people to discuss whatever they wish. I joined it because it was free and I was in college looking for advice. However it was mostly geared towards people younger than me. I just asked for advice about friends and relationships, and everything else. I even once posted something about a fetish I have seeing if people thought it was normal or odd. But i wasnt trying to expose anyone too anything i was merely trying to get an advice on what people thought. I was only there getting life advice and opinions. It has also been a long time since I used the site.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Hello,

Welcome to JustAnswer and thank you for the opportunity to assist you. Please remember that there might be a delay between your follow up questions and my answers because I may be helping other clients or taking a break.

This is a very subjective question and falls under two categories - Virginia Code (state law) USC (federal law).

According to Virginia's state law, § 18.2-374.3, it shall be unlawful for any person to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means for the purposes of procuring or promoting the use of a minor for any activity in violation of § 18.2-370 or §18.2-370. A violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony. Sec 18.2-370 and 18.2-370 essentially describe molestation, statutory rape, exposure, etc., or attempt thereof, upon minors.

Federal law also has reach here. Under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1470 using interstate methods to transfer obscene matter (or attempt thereof) to someone who has not attained the age of 16 years is punishable by a fine or ten years in prison, or both.

Furthermore, employing, using, or coercing a minor into sexual conduct in order to create visual depiction of such conduct is a crime punishable by fine and imprisonment for not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years if the depiction was transported, including by computer, in interstate or foreign commerce.

There actually are a number of federal statutes regarding online communication with minors. You can see them here:

http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/internet-report-2.pdf
(Page 1, after title and contents listing).

You will see that the majority of statutes have to do with soliciting minors online, or attempting to create (and creating) child pornography an its distribution, etc. Obviously, this is not what you did here. However, uner 47 U.S.C. §§ 223(a)(1)(A), using a telecommunications device to make, create, solicit, or initiate transmission of a comment, request, suggestion, proposal, or image which is obscene ... is also a crime when it comes to minors.

I do not know what you posted in regards XXXXX XXXXX fetish, but that itself is already a thin line, and I would avoid doing so since it can be interpreted subjectively. It would be wise to stay away all-together.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work; I receive no credit for my time with you until you actually press ACCEPT. If you still need to clarify something or seek more information, just use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to follow up to your satisfaction! There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, should you wish to continue in the thread, and I encourage you to do so should you desire clarification.

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus is always appreciated!

While the legal system tries to be inclusive of every possibility, sometimes, people are morally wronged but have limited legal avenues to seek relief. If so, please understand that this is not the expert’s fault (in other words, I prefer to tell you the truth rather than tell you what you want to hear, so if the news is not good, please do not shoot the messenger).

You can always request me for a future advice through my profile at…

http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-attorneyeli/

…if you do this, make sure to begin the question with “This Question is for Eli…”
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i need not post anything obscene to the minors and I was just asking for life advice, i was not posting anything illegal, and I did not post anything obscene.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Of course, and I am not implying as such. But people tend to be very sensitive when it comes to this kind of thing, so I would take care to not post anything about fetishes, etc. Also, by being older, you may even be breaking the site's rules for membership.

Just be careful, and do not engage any minor in discussions or even remotely sexual nature, even if on friendly level.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work; I receive no credit for my time with you until you actually press ACCEPT. If you still need to clarify something or seek more information, just use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to follow up to your satisfaction! There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, should you wish to continue in the thread, and I encourage you to do so should you desire clarification.

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus is always appreciated!

While the legal system tries to be inclusive of every possibility, sometimes, people are morally wronged but have limited legal avenues to seek relief. If so, please understand that this is not the expert’s fault (in other words, I prefer to tell you the truth rather than tell you what you want to hear, so if the news is not good, please do not shoot the messenger).

You can always request me for a future advice through my profile at…

http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-attorneyeli/

…if you do this, make sure to begin the question with “This Question is for Eli…”
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
this was along time ago and since i was not on there trying to pick anyone up and I did not say anything that obscene do you think I would get in trouble?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
I doubt it, although federal investigations can last up to a few years. I did not mean to scare you, but simply advise you that whatever you say can be taken out of context.

Do peruse the federal laws at this link:
http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/internet-report-2.pdf

Also be mindful of the state's law: § 18.2-374.3, it shall be unlawful for any person to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means for the purposes of procuring or promoting the use of a minor for any activity in violation of § 18.2-370 or §18.2-370. A violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony. Again, Sec 18.2-370 and 18.2-370 essentially describe molestation, statutory rape, exposure, etc., or attempt thereof, upon minors.

I hope you found my answer helpful, and if so please click on the ACCEPT button. This is the only way for me to get credit for my work; I receive no credit for my time with you until you actually press ACCEPT. If you still need to clarify something or seek more information, just use the REPLY button and I’d be more than happy to follow up to your satisfaction! There is no fee for follow up questions before or after accepting, should you wish to continue in the thread, and I encourage you to do so should you desire clarification.

If you feel that I went an extra step to help, a bonus is always appreciated!

While the legal system tries to be inclusive of every possibility, sometimes, people are morally wronged but have limited legal avenues to seek relief. If so, please understand that this is not the expert’s fault (in other words, I prefer to tell you the truth rather than tell you what you want to hear, so if the news is not good, please do not shoot the messenger).

You can always request me for a future advice through my profile at…

http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-attorneyeli/

…if you do this, make sure to begin the question with “This Question is for Eli…”
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
what i said wasnt that obscene, in the first place in the second place i was on a legal site mostly just looking for advice. I was not solicting minors. The only reason I thought of this is because I got an email from the site glad they hadnt seen me in awhile.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Again, I did not mean to imply that you did, nor am I accusing you in any way. No need to get upset - I do apologize. I was simply giving you information per your request.

Good luck, and please don't forget to press accept - it's the only way I get credit for my time with you.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
im not upset im just a bit confused. Basically all I did was go on there and ask information about life advice. The fetish comment was just me saying that I have a fetish for ---a particular object does that seem weird or odd to you.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
I see what you are saying. I was perhaps being overly cautious, but it is best to be safe than sorry. It is unlikely that this one comment will be investigated - I simply meant it would be wise to refrain from creating a pattern of these kinds of conversations. That is all.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 87528
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 9 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
right and mostly what I did was ask for advice about my friends and relationships on a legal site, (rememebr i wasnt far from being a teen at the time). I made one question about a sexual fetish: I have a diaper fetish would people find that odd I like to wear them. The rest of what I said was questions about friends and relationships. So by having an account on the site and doing what I did, is there any chance of legal trouble. (Im just trying to clarifly one last time.) Also the statues you refer to are of something else in nature I presume?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
all of the above really
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
The statutes that I refer to discuss talking to, emailing, and communication with minors. They are on point:

Virginia Law
§ 18.2-374.3, it shall be unlawful for any person to use a communications system, including but not limited to computers or computer networks or bulletin boards, or any other electronic means for the purposes of procuring or promoting the use of a minor for any activity in violation of § 18.2-370 or §18.2-370. A violation of this subsection is a Class 6 felony. Again, Sec 18.2-370 and 18.2-370 essentially describe molestation, statutory rape, exposure, etc., or attempt thereof, upon minors.

Federal Law
http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/pdf-files/internet-report-2.pdf

I will be honest - I know that this was a genuine discussion, and it is understandable. But in the interest of not walking the fine line, I would refrain from any such discussions in the future. I cannot say if you would get into trouble over one such comment, but I can say that from what I understand, the authorities spend their resources going after individuals who actually actively break the laws, not just accidentally.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
so what you're saying is what i said isnt technically breaking the law and I should be fine?
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
The law is drafted to be very general, and it is not for me to say who broke the law or not, since this is not as easily interpretable as say, driving under the influence.

However, I feel confident in saying that a one time, innocent discussion is likely not to be a big deal and I do not think the authorities would even take notice.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
okay thanks. Also the main issue the fact that I was on the site and asking questions on there pertaining to life advice is not really going to spark an issue either? Also this was after enough time that i should not worry. Thank you for your time.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Understandable. I do not believe that you should have to worry at the moment, no.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
so basically what your saying is based on the facts i havew given you I dont have anything to worry about, but refrain from obscene comments. Thanks again.
Expert:  Ely replied 3 years ago.
Exactly. You got it. You were in the gray area with the fetish comments, but as long as you use common sense, you'll be fine.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 87528
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Ely and 9 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you

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