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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23563
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I met a girl on a dating site and turns out she was 16 I'm

Customer Question

Hi there I met a girl on a dating site and turns out she was 16 I'm 24 I messaged her and said nothing sexual in nature besides cuddling would be nice and then I did send her a shirtless pic of me when she asked about me working out and how I looked. Her counselor called me and said he is contacting authorities for grooming a minor and I never said anything about having sex with her even though she made sexual comments towards me. I told him I wanted no contact and blocked the number and changed mine but he said he is going to press charges and has all the printouts
JA: OK. The Criminal Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Criminal Lawyer can help you best. Is there anything else the Criminal Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: She told me she was 16 about halfway through the conversation and I said I didn't mind talking to her but I wasn't trying to get like trapped by the FBI or something and that's when her counselor texted me
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Criminal Lawyer about your situation and connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

Did her counselor suggest that she wouldn't report this if you paid her money? In what US state are you? Is she in the same state? When did this happen? Does the girl know who or where you are?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

I was hoping for more information before I composed an answer, but if this doesn't address what you wanted to find out, you can respond here to this question thread and provide me with the information I asked for in the first place, and I can refine my answer accordingly.

There is a very popular online scam which has come to be known as "sextortion," a shorthand for sexual extortion, and this sounds like this may be what's going on here. Unscrupulous people hover around on chat rooms and dating sites, and they lure in their victims by assuring them that they are of age but then engaging them in sexual chat and/or pictures. Then, all of a a sudden, the unsuspecting victim is told that the girl is still a minor.

Sometimes, as in your case, she tells you that herself. Sometimes, you don't get the news until hours later or the next day when you get a phone call from a supposedly angry authority figure. And what that authority figure typically wants is money or he claims he'll prosecute. That's blackmail, and one should never give into that.

If that's what happened, you need to block all contact with the so-called minor and her so called counselor and send no money . You should never give in to an extortion request. If you pay them, you'll have to keep paying them for the rest of your life. They only have power over them if you give in to them.

In these scams there really isn't any minor at all. It's all just a way to intimidate you to get money. If you simply disappear the way you did, the scammers go away and move on to someone else, because it's not about reporting you but only about money, so they can't really report it without producing the minor and swearing out a complaint with the police. Scammers don't do that.

To be on the safe side, however, if you have your copy of the text thread, it's got evidence where you've specifically said that you were not interested in anyone underaged. You may want to print that up and keep it somewhere if you still can, because it may be helpful down the road.

To recap -- the chances are very high that there's no real minor here, no real counselor, and nobody who would dare go to the police. You've already blocked their contact. You should also cancel your membership on the dating website.

The odds are high that nothing at all will happen except that they will move on and try to set someone else up for extortion. The sudden appearance of her "counselor" in the midst of your conversation is so suspicious as to be downright unbelievable. I cannot guarantee you that you have nothing to be concerned about, however. So in the event that you hear from someone who claims to be a police officer, or if the minor or her counselor try to reach you some other way, say NOTHING about this incident to the police except that you do not wish to discuss anything until you can reach your lawyer. That's your right and the authorities are required to honor that and can't hold that against you. Then you can go out and look for a local criminal lawyer.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Yeah I called my cop friend and he said say nothing without a lawyer to anyone. He said the guy said a private investigator would be contacting me and it was bogus. He did not ask for money however he did say he was contacting the base authorities. I even offered to give him my superiors number and he wouldn't take it. I n no way said anything about wanting to have sex with the girl. The picture I sent was after she asked about me working out and how my progress was going I got no sexual pictures from the girl either. I just don't want my career to suffer due to this I deleted my Facebook changed my number blocked that number and deleted the dating site.
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

Yup. You should be fine.

You've taken all of the right steps, you know not to discuss this with anyone other than a lawyer and your additional details make it sound even fishier than it did before.

I don't think anything will happen from here, but you're well-armed. In the future, however, get and keep reassurances that anyone you are chatting up online is at least 18 before you allow any kind of sexual chat on either her part or yours, and the moment you're not convinced that she's an adult or the moment that she confides that she's under 18, cut off contact immediately.

The internet may seem like it's one big sexual playground, but in fact it's a minefield. Be very careful, and good luck!

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Are there any lawyers in the NC area that specialize in stuff like this that I can have on call just in case ?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

You would just need an experienced criminal lawyer. We are not allowed to refer customers to a specific lawyer or law firm as the site won't allow it. The best I can do is to send you to legal referral sites that lawyers themselves use when they need to consult with someone in a different specialty or state and don't know anyone.

You can contact the North Carolina Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service. They charge around $50 for the referral which includes a free half hour consultation with the attorney.

You could also call a commercial lawyer referral service such as Martindale.com. Many of Martindale's lawyers are peer and client rated, which some customers find very helpful.

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