Thursday, 20 October 2011

Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet has literally changed the world in which we live. Its value for research, communication, education, business, and many other applications, is incalculable. People the world over can now connect with each other in real time. However, as with any valuable resource, there is a constant threat of its use as a vehicle for criminal activity. Online scams, identity theft, and various types of fraud are now an everyday occurrence, where perpetrators are able to target millions of Internet users. One of the most heinous of these criminal activities has been the proliferation of Internet sex abuse. Tragically, the victims of these crimes are often children. If your child has been targeted by an online sexual predator, you should contact a sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible. In addition to criminal charges filed by federal or state authorities, an attorney can pursue monetary damages against the perpetrator.

Types of Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet can be a potentially dangerous place for an unsuspecting child. Sexual predators are frequently online attempting to arrange meetings with minors or to send pornographic images of underaged children. Chat rooms can be used to lure minors into extremely dangerous situations. Internet sexual abuse can include any of the following:

• Solicitation of a minor through chat rooms or e-mails
• Luring a minor using the Internet
• Using the Internet as a means to commit any type of sex crime
• Persuading a minor to engage in prostitution or sexual activity over the Internet
• Child pornography (production, possession, and/or distribution)
• Arranging a meeting with a minor over the Internet with the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior
• Sending harmful material to a minor with the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator or the minor
• Web cam offenses
• Endangering the welfare of a child
• Stalking and related offenses

Damages and Penalties

California as well as federal law includes sections on Internet sex crimes, which outline severe criminal penalties that can include a prison sentence, heavy fines, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and other penalties. California criminal statutes provide the following:

• Penal Code 288.2 prohibits sending harmful material (images, recordings, video, text, etc.) by phone, e-mail, Internet or website. This may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, with a state prison or county jail sentence. Second offenses are automatically charged as a felony.

• Penal Code 288.3 prohibits the arrangement of a meeting with a minor for the purpose of indecent exposure or committing lewd or lascivious conduct. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of $5,000. If the perpetrator actually attends the meeting, it is an automatic felony, which may result in a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

In addition to criminal penalties, the victim may file a civil suit against the perpetrator of Internet sexual abuse for monetary compensation. The victim of an Internet sex abuse may be able to recover such damages as expenses for psychological counseling, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other related damages.

Los Angeles Child Sex Abuse Attorney

The advancement of technology, with all of its positive applications, is also being used by sexual predators to make contact with potential victims. Despite all the precautions we take, any child who uses the Internet is susceptible to this danger. If your child has been the victim of an Internet sexual predator, a Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer can help secure compensation for the injury and suffering resulting from the abuse.

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