With the vast use and access to the Internet, more and more crimes especially those committed against child (or at least attempted) originate from contact initiated on line through chat messages, e-mail, text messages, and social media networks like Facebook. A criminal or civil case may be established with evidence gathered online through websites and user accounts like the ones on Facebook. When a person is charged with crimes or attempted crimes, the Defendant will be entitled to representation by a criminal defense attorney or the public defender’s office. One issue that may be raised by the Defense is that the messages were not sent by the Defendant but by someone else with access to the account or by someone who hacked the account.
While this defense may be raised, it is unsuccessful in many cases due to the overwhelming amount of evidence in place against the Defendant. This is especially true when the Defendant sends photos or other identifying information to the child.
Because of the risks online and the fact that predators use Facebook and other sites to lure children in, parents should monitor computer use and make sure that the children are safe in the house, out of the house, and, yes, online. In Polk County, Florida, a police investigation resulted from a mother who was concerned about a man from Massachusetts who was soliciting her 16 year old son on Facebook. Once police were notified, police went undercover “online” and continued the apparent contact at least as far as the man in Massachusetts knew. The man was ultimately arrested after further messages and naked pictures were sent by the man to the 16 year old boy. It is disturbing to note that the man charged with this crimes is a Junior Hockey coach. You can read more about this story at Man Arrested for Crimes Involving Solicitation and Facebook – Polk County, Florida.