Most internet sex crimes involve using the internet to sexually exploit minors in some way. The most common internet sex crime charge by far is the possession and distribution of child pornography. The use of the internet to groom and lure minor children for sexual exploitation is another common offense.
However, you might be surprised to learn that some internet sex crimes don’t involve children, although the charges stemming from these offenses are sometimes just as serious.
We’ve put together a guide covering internet sex crimes that don’t involve minor children, and some of the sentencing and penalties you could face if convicted.
Internet-Facilitated Sexual Assault
In most cases, the internet is used to lure minor victims into meeting the offender for sexual activity. This is commonly referred to as internet luring.
However, some offenders also begin relationships with adult victims online, ultimately arranging to meet the victim, at which point the victim is sexually assaulted.
In this case, you would not be charged with an internet crime per se so long as the alleged victim is an adult, but would instead be charged with rape or attempted rape of the alleged victim. In addition, the use of the internet to do so has a few consequences:
- Online communications provide a traceable record that can be used as evidence for the alleged rape or attempted rape.
- The use of the internet to facilitate sexual assault could lead to federal charges, especially if the alleged victim is in another state.
The penalties for sexual assault or attempted sexual assault vary depending on the circumstances of the alleged offense. The presence of aggravating factors, such as the use of a deadly weapon or physical injury of the victim, will increase the level of charges you face.
Even when there are no aggravating factors present, though, if you are convicted of sexual assault in Colorado, you will face a lengthy prison sentence followed by mandatory sex offender registration.
Revenge porn consists of posting sexually explicit videos or photographs of the alleged victim without his or her consent, usually in an attempt to harass or upset the victim. This crime is also referred to as nonconsensual pornography or cyber exploitation.
Colorado has criminalized revenge porn, and you could face one or more of the following charges for nonconsensually posting sexually explicit videos and images of another person:
- Posting a private image for harassment: posting or distributing a private image of the victim, either with the intent to harass and inflict distress on the victim or with the knowledge that the victim had a reasonable expectation of privacy. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Posting a private image for pecuniary gain: non-consensually posting a private image with the intent to obtain a financial benefit from anyone in the as a result of the posting, viewing, or removal of the private image. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Invasion of privacy for sexual gratification: non-consensually posting a private image in order to serve the defendant’s own sexual gratification. This is a Class 1 misdemeanor unless you have a prior conviction for the offense, in which case it is a Class 6 felony.
Online Promotion/Solicitation of Prostitution and Human Trafficking
These days we use the internet for just about everything, so it comes as no surprise that the internet is frequently used to promote or solicit prostitution.
The notorious site backpage.com was taken down because of its extensive use to facilitate prostitution. However, alternative sites such as yesbackpage.com or other online classified sites can still be used for these purposes.
Depending on your role in an alleged offense, you could face one or more of the following charges for involvement in prostitution:
- Prostitution: Agreeing to perform sexual favors in exchange for money or things of value. This is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
- Soliciting for Prostitution: Soliciting another person for prostitution or arranging for others to do so. This is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
- Pandering: Attempting to coerce someone into committing prostitution or arranging a situation where someone can commit prostitution. Coercion of prostitution is a Class 5 felony, and arranging prostitution is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
- Patronizing a Prostitute: Engaging in sexual activity with a prostitute, or entering a place of prostitution with the intent to engage in sexual activity with a prostitute.
- Pimping: Being supported by money or other items of value received through prostitution. This is a Class 3 felony.
Internet sex crime charges are on the rise, so we can expect to see an uptick in prosecution for these offenses. Don’t get caught up in the mix.
About the Author:
Andrew Bryant is a well-respected Colorado Springs criminal attorney who has been practicing in the area for years. A Colorado native, he returned to the home he loves after graduating from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Now, he uses the knowledge he gained as an El Paso County District Attorney to fight tirelessly for his clients’ rights. He is AV-Preeminent rated, has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, and has been named to Best of the Springs lists by The Gazette for years.