Internet-facilitated sex crimes against minors involve deceit and begin with adults communicating with children over the Internet with the goal of coercing them into illegal sexual activity. Sometimes the sexual abuse happens face to face.
Some individuals have initiated actions against laws designed to protect children. Doe v. Shurtleff, 628 F.3d 1217 (10th Cir. 2010), was a United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit case assessing the constitutionality of Utah Code Ann. § 77-27-21.5, a law that requires sex offenders to register their internet identifiers with the state in order to "assist in investigating kidnapping and sex-related crimes, and in apprehending offenders". In this case, a convicted sex offender, appearing anonymously as John Doe, appealed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah to vacate an order enjoining the enforcement of Utah Code Ann. § 77-27-21.5.
Cases involving stalking, violence, abduction, rape and/or murder are very rare. Most online sex offenders are young adults who target teens and seduce victims into sexual relationships. They take time to develop the trust and confidence of teens, so the teens see these relationships as romances or sexual adventures. Nearly 75 percent of victims who met offenders face-to-face did so more than once. Most of these offenders are charged with crimes such as statutory rape for non-forcible sexual contact as the victims are, by law, too young to consent. The youth most vulnerable to online sex offenders have histories of sexual or physical abuse, family problems, and tendencies to take risks both on- and offline. A 2007 study found no cases of minors being targeted by internet predators on the basis of information they had posted on social networking sites. The research that concluded the statistic that "1 in 5 children are sexually solicited online" is being questioned.
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[G]aming consoles such as PlayStation, Wii, and Xbox have become Internet-enabled, interactive devices. This provides an opportunity for pedophiles to befriend and groom minors.
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- Doe v. Shurtleff, 628 F.3d 1217 (10th Cir. 2010).
- "Utah Code Ann. § 77-27-21.5". Retrieved 12 October 2017.
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- Spreading "1 in 5" Number Does More Harm Than Good, Slashdot, Feb 26, 2008