As soon as there was an internet, there was sex on the internet and crime on the internet. And while sex crime on the internet might not make intuitive sense at first — Can you actually have any kind of sex on the internet, much less illegal sex? — it turns out there are quite a few sexual activities that take place on the internet that are illegal under state or federal law.
Here’s a roundup of the five most common types of internet sex crimes, and how you could get into trouble online.
By now you should now that sexting can be problematic. Beyond entrusting someone else with your nude or sexually explicit images, you can also get in trouble for receiving sexts, especially if they’re from a minor (even if you’re a minor yourself).
It’s a newer scam, but criminals are claiming to already have compromising photos of a victim to extort more sexually explicit pictures. Sadly, these scams often target underage children.
Another, older internet sex scam focused on Facebook, with a male teenager posing as a girl on Facebook to collect naked pictures and blackmail his male classmates for sex. The culprit pleaded guilty to felony charges of repeated sexual assault of a child and third-degree sexual assault.
Federal authorities are also cracking down on those who cater to people looking for sex on the internet, especially online classified ads accused of trafficking teenagers. The “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” or FOSTA, gave federal law enforcement the power to shut down sex-related sections of websites like Craigslist and Backpage.
Even listing your sexual experiences on the internet can get you arrested. An Illinois high schooler posted a list contained the names of approximately 50 female classmates, detailing their sexual behaviors, sexual characteristics, and physical appearance, and was charged with disorderly conduct.
If you’ve been charged with an internet sex crime, contact a local criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.