A Chicago man has been charged with using the popular social media platform Snapchat to solicit sexually explicit videos from minors. This is not a unique case, as those charged with sexual predation often use the internet to find victims. It is, however, illegal to attempt to solicit sexual photos and videos from individuals that the perpetrator knows are underage. The key here, however, is what the perpetrator knew at the time.
For that reason, when law enforcement approaches an individual that they believe is using social media platforms to sexually exploit children and teenagers, they have to tell the suspect what their age is. In these cases, they can establish that the individual was targeting someone they knew was a minor. It is not illegal, only unseemly, to ask women over the age of 18 for sexually explicit content.
Analyzing Sexual Exploitation Prosecutions
There is a lot of controversy over how law enforcement handles these investigations. Often, it seems like they are being awfully tricky, and in some cases, they may be luring good people into criminal activity.
Typically, law enforcement will only target those individuals after they receive a tip. In this case, law enforcement received a tip and then began the process of luring the individual into committing a crime. Is that entrapment? No.
What is entrapment?
Criminal defense attorneys tend to stay away from entrapment defenses because it shifts the burden of proof to the defendant. The same can be said of insanity defenses, and both have an equal chance of working under the law.
In order to establish that entrapment occurred, the defendant must show that they would never have committed the crime unless they were induced to do so by law enforcement. Because the burden of proof is on the defendant, the stakes are much higher for the attorney. The standard of proof is not as high as it is for the prosecution, but the burden is still taken on by the defendant.
Inducement Against Morality
In order for a defendant to win on an entrapment defense, they must be able to establish that they would never commit that crime unless law enforcement tricked them. So, for example, if law enforcement presents a victim who is currently being abused in their current situation and then attempts to claim that the defendant was going there only for sexual exploitation, the defendant would have a strong entrapment defense.
The problem is that law enforcement is well aware of the entrapment defense and will not pursue an individual who does not commit criminal conduct. In this case, the defendant appears to have left a paper trail, and police were tipped off to his online conduct rendering an entrapment defense unlikely to succeed.
Talk to a Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney Today
David Freidberg has significant experience handling cases involving sex crimes. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.