What to do when accused of an online sex crime
Being accused of online sex crimes is a serious and distressing situation. Conviction for charges of online sex trafficking, sextortion or child pornography could result in years of prison time.
Taking the right steps in this situation may increase the chances of a favorable outcome in your case.
Remain calm and seek emotional support
Facing accusations of online sex crimes can be emotionally overwhelming. Reach out to close loved ones or support groups for emotional help during this challenging time. You may also want to find a therapist who can advise you.
Avoid discussing the case
Do not talk to anyone outside your immediate support circle about the case, your accuser or the allegations on social media or any public platform. Sharing case details with friends, family or coworkers can have unintended consequences. Anything you say can come up in court and may negatively affect your case.
Review your online presence and social media accounts. Ensure that your online activities do not contradict your defense or provide evidence.
Save any documents that might be relevant to your defense. Examples include emails, text messages, chat logs and other communication that may help prove your innocence or provide context to the situation.
Do not contact the accuser
You could receive harassment charges if you contact the accuser directly. Necessary communication with the plaintiff should go through legal channels.
Cooperate with law enforcement
If contacted by law enforcement, it is generally advisable to cooperate. However, you can also exercise your right to remain silent and avoid self-incrimination. During the legal process, attend all scheduled hearings and comply with court orders.
Data from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicates that online sex crime reports rose by 97.5% from 2019 to 2020 alone. Following these steps when facing online sex crime charges can help you navigate this difficult time.