A recent police operation has allegedly linked nine men in Iowa to online sexual communications with a 13-year-old girl. But the chain of suspects doesn't end at the state line. Men from at least four other states have also been accused of making improper contact with the same girl. All of these man may face serious criminal charges. Sex offenses can carry serious prison sentences in Iowa, especially when the victim is a minor. If convicted the accused can also face sex offender registration requirements which may persist for years or even decades after the conviction.
Police admit that in each case it was the girl who originally initiated conversations with the suspects over social media. The communications ultimately led to conduct including sending or receiving nude pictures, an activity popularly known as "sexting." Some men allegedly tried to set up physical meetings with the girl, with the intent to engage in sexual activity, but police believe no meetings took place.
People who engage in sexual communications online may not even be aware, when they are talking to a minor, that the individual is underage. But aggressive prosecutors and police, combined with public outrage, may result in charges even if evidence of criminal intent is weak.
With the proliferation of social media bringing people of all kinds into contact with each other, it's no wonder that internet crimes are becoming more and more common. But it also may make it more difficult for prosecutors to prove these people actually committed crimes when the suspects and the supposed victim are cloaked in anonymity. Fortunately, experienced Iowa defense attorneys are able to provide defendants with a zealous and competent defense against sex offense allegations and other internet crimes where technology blurs the lines and makes evidence of criminal intent more difficult to prove.
Source: Des Moines Register "'Sexting' probe involving Iowa teen reaches 4 more states," Grant Rodgers, July 24, 2014