Sexual Solicitation of a Child
The crime of sexual solicitation of a child occurs when an adult solicits a child (under 18) to engage in a sexual act or uses a computer or electronic device to solicit a child to engage in sex. For the prosecutor to convict you of this offense, it is only required that you believe the person you are talking with is under 18 years old or the person represents themselves to be under 18. They do not have to actually be 18. This way a police officer can pretend to be a child and engage you in conversation. It is not a defense that the police officer is actually an adult. If you live out of state and communicate with a Delaware police officer, Delaware has jurisdiction if the information is received by a police officer in Delaware.
Sexual solicitation is a class B felony if you meet in person or attempt to meet in person, otherwise, sexual solicitation is a class C felony. If counted as a class B felony, you are facing 2 to 25 years in prison. (2 years minimum mandatory) If counted as a class C felony the presumptive sentence is up to 1 year in jail. A conviction will result in a 25 year hit on the Delaware sex offender registry. The precise definition of this crime can be found in 11 Del.C. §1112A.How do Police Catch Sex Offenders Online?
A police officer will pose as a minor in a chatroom, application or other online forum and engage you in sexual conversation. Then, the police may send you pictures of young police officers posing as minors and explain to you that they are underage. Typically they will pretend to be 13 or 14 years old. Police will also try to find out your identity. The goal of law enforcement is to engage you in sexual conversation and ultimately arrange a meeting for casual sex where you will be arrested. This is the classic scenario that we saw on the popular TV show "To Catch a Predator." Our office is now seeing Defendants arrested for using cell phone applications such as KIK, snapchat and other dating applications.Defending Sexual Solicitation Charges
Identity can be an issue in these cases. The first thing that the prosecution will have to prove is your identity and that you are the author of the communications. The police and prosecution will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were the one sending the messages. Usually, they will request your name and information when sexting. If you tried to meet with police and were arrested, the police will typically issue miranda warnings and get you to admit you were the author of the messages or communications. Entrapment can be a defense to these charges in certain situations. Entrapment is an affirmative defense, meaning that you the defendant would have to prove it. Entrapment occurs when the police officer originates the idea of the crime, induces you to engage in the conduct and you would not otherwise be disposed to engage in that type of conduct.Contact Us
If you or someone you love has been charged with Sexual solicitation contact our office to schedule a free consultation. Jason Antoine is a former prosecutor and has experience prosecuting and defending high stakes sex offense cases. He works with some of the top expert witnesses in the region and has experience working against the Delaware Child Predator Unit.