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Internet Sex Crimes

The internet is ripe with sex crimes. People feel anonymous when they are online, and few are aware of just how traceable their actions are. Sex crimes are just that: crimes. They are just as serious when committed from behind a screen as they are in person. The nature of online content makes it highly available and distributable, opening unintentional browsers to the possibility of criminal action for possession of illegal content. It is more important than ever that you understand what constitutes sex crimes on the internet. This is an everchanging criminal landscape, our Boston internet sex crimes lawyers are available 24 hours a day to help you should a consultation be needed. Below we have laid out a list of some of the most common.

Sex Crimes on the Internet

All of these crimes carry possible time in prison, hefty fines, and perhaps registration as a Massachusetts sex offender.

Child Pornography

Possession and dissemination of child pornography are serious crimes. Consequences differ depending on what is actually displayed in the content. Disseminating content displaying a nude minor or possession with intent to disseminate it is punishable by 10-20 years in prison or by a fine ranging from $10,000-$30,000 or three times the economic gain from the content’s dissemination; whichever is greater. Dissemination of content which depicts a sexual act by a minor or possession with intent to disseminate it is punishable by 10-20 years in prison or punishable by a fine of $10,000-$50,000 or three times the economic gain from the content’s dissemination. Consent of the minor is no defense to these charges, as minors are considered incapable of consent. A possible defense to this crime is that the depiction was part of a legitimate scientific, medical, or educational purpose for a school, museum, or library. Note that simple receipt of child pornography, even if unsolicited, is a crime that could result in 5-20 years in prison. Should you find yourself being investigated or have been charged with this serious offense you should contact our office and speak to one our of Boston criminal defense lawyers.

Sexual Solicitation

This crime involved an individual communicating with a minor about a potential in person meeting where the individual intends to commit a sex crime. Punishment for this ranges in prison time depending on the nature of the interaction.

Extorting Explicit Videos

This crime often includes a threat if the victim does not send sexually explicit material to the perpetrator, or a threat to disseminate the material if the victim does not do some other act. Massachusetts law has evolved to meet the challenge of this activity increasingly occurring online. This crime is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison or 2 ½ years in jail, or by a fine of $5,000 or less.

Revenge Porn

“Revenge porn” is a common term for sharing explicit videos of a former partner without their knowledge or consent. While the motivating factor is often revenge on the victim, this is not necessary for the crime to take place. Massachusetts law prohibits photographing, videotaping, or surveilling a person while trying to hide it. It further prohibits the dissemination of such content, which is punishable with a maximum of 2 ½ years in in jail or 5 years in prison or by a fine of $10,000 or less. These punishments increase if the victim is a minor. Massachusetts has not directly addressed the issue of “revenge porn” specifically, where the victim may in fact consent at the time, but not to the later dissemination of the explicit content. Gov. Baker has recommended changes to the law that would make this conduct illegal.

Defenses to Internet Sex Crimes

Possible defenses to sex crimes committed on the internet include that the perpetrator did not know the victim was a minor in cases concerning minors, that the action can be attributed to a computer virus, or that the images were intended for some artistic or educational purpose.

If you or a loved one has been charged with an Internet sex crime, or a sex crime of another nature, contact the Boston and Cambridge law firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. At Altman & Altman, LLP, our Internet sex crime defense team has the skill and knowledge that comes with over four decades of experience defending individuals against sex crime charges. Contact us to schedule a free, confidential consultation.

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