Are police and underage sex/pornography aficionados like bears and spawning salmon?
Countless Internet users get lulled into a false sense of anonymity online. However, website owners, like I, already know that each visitor to a website can be tracked through their unique IP address that police can trace right to the user’s Internet service provider and the Internet account subscriber himself or herself.
For people seeking, watching, and distributing child pornography online and seeking sex with minors online, this means a plethora of police posing as fellow child sex aficionados, akin to bears feasting on spawning salmon. Many will think such a scenario a good thing. However, such police activity also underlines how much even legitimate Internet activity gets monitored by police and the rest of government. Look no further than the National Security Agency for that.
For those defendants accused of seeking sex with a minor who does not actually exist, at least where I practice the non-existence of real child is no defense. Moreover, this week, the D.C. Circuit said that such a conviction can be obtained for only communicating with an adult intermediary in seeking sex with a minor. U.S v. Hite, ___ F.3d ___ (D.C. Cir., Oct. 21, 2014).
It is not a crime for a person to harbor sexual interest in children only in his or her mind, without acting on that interest. Too many such people do act, and countless get caught, convicted, and severely sentenced.