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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12459
Experience:  Attorney
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I engaged in a one-time internet sex chat with a 17 year-old

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I engaged in a one-time internet sex chat with a 17 year-old ( I am 30). I am worried if she reports me because I have heard that it is a crime in New Jersey, & also a federal crime, to engage in sexually explicit chat with a minor. We didn't exchange pictures or pornography or anything, & we didn't talk about meeting up at all. How often, realistically, does the federal government, or new jersey for that matter, prosecute people for engaging in sexual roleplaying with a minor?

Hello there:

Thank you for entrusting me with your question. First, it depends on what was actually said, but let's assume that what was written did, in fact, constitute a crime. Did you provide any personally identifying information, such as your name, telephone number, or address?

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
No I didn't provide any personally identifying information. It was on an anonymous chat site called Omegle. On Omegle, you get paired with an anonymous stranger for a 1-on-1 conversation. We just exchanged first names, that's all. No phone numbers or addresses or e-mails. She just said she lived in Pennsylvania & I said I lived in New Jersey. That was it. I don't know, however, whether the police & law enforcement could reasonably track the conversation to my IP address if they wanted to. She did say that she was 17, & I told her I was 24.

I would first point out that the age of consent in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania is 16 years of age, so sexually explicit conversation or even interaction between someone age 16 and up and an adult is not illegal as long as the participants are both located in either state.

 

Secondly, even if the minor was in a different state, the resources that it would take to track you down would be tremendous. Furthermore still, they would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was actually you involved in the conversation.

 

Third, the minor would actually have to be a minor, and actually have to report the crime(if it was a crime).

 

 

So the risk factor is very low--virtually zero. Learn from this incident, but I would not worry at all.

 

 

I understand that you may have follow-up questions. Let me know if further clarification is needed, and please keep in mind that the experts are not credited for unaccepted answers; even where I cannot solve every problem in a case, my hope is that you can at least feel confident in your knowledge of your rights so you can get the best legal outcome under the circumstances, whatever that outcome may be. Thank you.

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