If you are like many people in Minnesota, you probably use the internet to find new opportunities and experiences. Some of these experiences may be romantic in nature, but if the person on the other end of that cyber connection is a minor, you could find yourself charged with an internet sex crime. Here at Joseph S. Friedberg Chartered, we often hear from clients that they didn’t know the other person they were talking to was underage. Is it still illegal if the age of the other person is misrepresented?
Once a teenager turns 16, he or she has the legal power to consent to sexual acts. However, many young teens tend to lie about their age when they are online, pretending to be older. According to City Pages news, people could be charged with a sex crime even if they were misled to believe the teen was over the age of consent. However, the Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed with the argument that the current rule was out of date and that the “mistake of age” defense could be presented in cases involving sex and the internet.
In the case at hand, a man was convicted of a sex crime after developing an online relationship with someone he believed was 16 years old but, in reality, was only 14 years old. The man never received a picture of the girl, even though he had asked her for one. As a result of this ruling, the man’s conviction was overturned. The ruling, however, now gives people the ability to defend themselves when they engage in cybersex activity with a person who keeps their true age from them. For more information about defending yourself from a sexual offense charge, please visit our web page.