Queens Cyber Sex Crimes

The internet has become a tool used to facilitate criminal activity, including committing sex crimes. While at one time child pornography was available largely through mail order or underground establishments, it can now be quickly downloaded from the internet and sent from person to person via email. Adults often use the internet to make friends with children. Often these friendships result in the children becoming victims of crimes such as child sexual assault. In other cases adults maintain online friendships with children that involve the sharing of sexually explicit materials or actions. Through the use of webcams it is now possible to create child pornography almost anywhere. It is even possible to solicit or promote prostitution online. Sexual assault, prostitution, child pornography, and other sex crimes, when they are facilitated by using the internet are collectively referred to as cyber sex crimes. New York police and other law enforcement agencies have responded to the rise in cyber sex crimes by using both high-tech and traditional law enforcement methodology to identify and apprehend those committing cyber sex crimes. However, in their eagerness to crack down on cyber sex crimes, law enforcement does not always get it right. The mere accusation of committing a sex crime is sufficient to not only cause deep embarrassment, but to also damage personal and professional relationships. If you have been accused of a cyber sex crime, the wise thing to do is to get in front of the situation and immediately contact an experienced Queens Cyber Sex Crimes Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and work closely with you to resolve the case as quickly as possible.

Types of Cyber Sex Crimes
  • Possessing Child Pornography. Under both New York State law and federal law it is illegal to possess child pornography. New York Penal Law refers to possession of child pornography as possessing a sexual performance by a child and possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child. N.Y. Pen Law §§ 263.16, 263.11. The term "possess" means not just holding a physical copy of the child pornography. It also refers to accessing or downloading digital images on the internet. In People v. Vanness, 2013 NY Slip Op 03506 (2013), the police found child pornography on computer of defendant Michael Vanness. He was indicted on three counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child. To be charged, it is only necessary that you access child pornography with the intent to view it. An obscene sexual performance involves a performance that has no artistic, political, literary or scientific value and appeals only to the salacious interest in sex. N.Y. Pen Law § 235.00(1)
    If you are found to be in possession of child pornography that you came across on the internet, you may also face federal possession of child pornography charges. 18 U.S.C. § 2252. The federal statute is likely to be implicated whenever images are downloaded or in any way accessed from the internet.

  • Luring of a child. If you induce a child to get into a car with you, or go into a building or isolated area in order to commit a sex crime involving that child, you would have committed the crime of luring of a child. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen Law § 120.70(1). Luring is no longer only accomplished with kids in a park or walking home from school. It is now also done on the internet. For example, an adult will become friendly with a child through a social media site and eventually convince the child to meet in person. Upon meeting the child is sexually assaulted, kidnapped, injured or exploited.

  • Prostitution. Prostitution is one of the most common sex crimes. It involves paying someone for sex or agreeing to pay someone for sex. N.Y. Pen Law § 230.00. It is a Class A misdemeanor. Prostitution can also be a cyber sex crime when the transaction begins online. For example, if you make the agreement via the internet or actually pay for the services online, then you would have committed a cyber sex crime. Promoting prostitution can include advancing prostitution by soliciting clients for the prostitute via online marketing. N.Y. Pen Law § 230.15.

Disseminating indecent material to minors

It is against the law to sell indecent material to children. Examples of indecent material include a photograph, painting, book, magazine, sculpture or movie depicting a nude person or a person engaging in sexual conduct or sadomasochistic conduct. If you sell indecent material to children via the internet or via any other means, you would have committed the crime of disseminating indent materials to minors in the second degree. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen Law § 235.21. In order to be charged with this crime it is not necessary that you exchange indecent material for money. It is also crime to use the internet to provide minors with sexually explicit materials in order to convince the minor to perform sexual intercourse or other sexual activity. If you do so, the charge you will face is disseminating indecent material to minors in the first degree. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen Law § 235.22

Consequences of a Cyber Sex Crime Conviction

The sentences for cyber sex crimes range from 6 or 10 years probation, to up to 1 year in jail, to several years in prison. Your sentence could also be a combination of probation and incarceration. It depends on whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony. However, if you are charged with a cyber sex crime it is likely that you will be charged with other types of crimes. For example, if you are charged with luring of a child, depending on the facts of the case, you may also face a rape, criminal sexual act, assault or kidnapping charge. If you are charged with prostitution, you might face a sex trafficking charge. The more criminal charges you face, the more severe the potential punishment you face.

If convicted of a sex crime, there is a good chance that your sentence will involve incarceration. However, it is possible that you may only receive probation, or a combination of incarceration and probation. If you are a first time offender there will be no required minimum prison sentence for being convicted of most sex crimes. This means that depending on the circumstances of your case and your criminal background the judge may sentence you to just 6 or 10 years probation. Six years is the mandatory probation term for a misdemeanor sex crime conviction, while 10 years is the mandatory probation term for a felony sex crime conviction. Probation comes with a set of conditions that you must follow. If you do not your probation may be revoked and you may be ordered to report to prison.

If you are convicted of a cyber sex crime you will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). SORA requires sex offenders to provide law enforcement with personal identifying information such as your name, aliases, home address, school address, the crime of which you were convicted, email addresses, online screen names, and your photograph. SORA also requires periodic verification. This means that you will be required to verify your address and other information on a regular basis. Under SORA you will have to register for a minimum of 20 years. In some cases, registration will be required for life.

Being convicted of a cyber sex crime or any sex crime will have a significant, negative impact on your life as well as the lives of your family members. You could end up in jail for multiple years. Even if you are not sentenced to prison, you will probably have to register as a sex offender. For this reason, if you are facing a cyber sex crime charge you should immediately consult an experienced Queens Cyber Sex Crimes Lawyer who has the knowledge to help you fight the charges. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing clients in New York criminal courts charged with cyber sex crimes, as well as other types of sex crimes such as rape, sexual assault, sex with a minor, public lewdness, and indecent exposure. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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