Internet Sex Crimes—Serious Crimes with Serious Consequences in Colorado

Stephanie Stout Jan. 2, 2015

Internet sex crimes are more prevalent than we would like to believe; in Colorado, it is no defense to Internet Luring that no meeting actually occurred.

Internet sex crimes may be considered a hidden crime-one that an lurk in any community, not in large metropolitan areas, but also in small towns and rural communities. On July 29th, a 24-year-old Longmont, Colorado, man was arrested and charged with Internet luring. He is alleged to have communicated online with a 14-year-old female and attempted to meet her for a sexual relationship. He was, at the time, employed as a school custodian. Only two days later, police arrested a 31-year-old male for the same crime, accused of arranging to meet a 14-year-old female for sex. He was arrested when he showed up at the coffee shop to meet her-the her, by the way, being a fictitious 13 year old. Another arrest in Aurora on July 23rd, another Castle Rock resident arrested on July 15th, and on September 25th, Boulder police arrested a young man who solicited and received sexually explicit pictures from a nine-year-old Florida girl. About the same time a Westminster man was arrested for engaging in a sexually explicit webcam with a 13 year old.

National Statistics

According to federal statistics, approximately 13 percent of all young Internet users receive unwanted sexual solicitations at some point, with the most common first encounter occurring in a chat room. Perhaps surprisingly, those same statistics reveal that predators used less deception than one might expect-only five percent presented themselves as being in the same age group as the victim-with the vast majority telling their victims they were older males looking for a sexual relationship.

The Crimes Under Colorado Law

Under Colorado law, a person commits the crime of Internet Luring of a Child if he or she uses a computer, text message, or instant messaging to communicate with a child believed to be under the age of 15 and at least four years younger and describes an unlawful sexual act and makes any statement attempting to persuade the child to meet the person . The law specifically provides that it is no defense that no meeting actually occurred. A violation can be either a class 4 or class 5 felony depending on the circumstances.

Another Internet crime is the Internet Exploitation of a Child, which is defined as any person to communicate via a computer, text message, or instant message with a child he or she believes to be under the age of 15 and at least four years younger for the purpose of enticing that child to expose or touch that child's private parts or the older person exposes his or her private parts to the child. A violation is a class 4 felony.

A class 4 felony is punishable by two to six years' imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000. A class 5 felony is punishable by a sentence of one to three years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.

Seeking experienced legal representation

Internet sex crimes are serious and carry serious consequences-some of which may follow a person for the rest of their lives. Anyone charged with such an offense should seek the immediate representation of an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney.