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  2. TO CATCH A PREDATOR • Recently there has been initiation of widespread sex offender legislation throughout the United States gearing towards harsher penalties, longer mandatory minimum sentences for sex crimes, lifetime supervision of sex offenders by global positioning satellite after they are released from prison, and indefinite civil commitment of these offenders after their prison term expires. Such laws include the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act[i] and the Jessica Lunsford Act.[ii] • [i] 109 P.L. 248 (2006). • [ii] 2006 Fl. ALS 25 (2006).

  3. AGENDA • Characteristics of online investigations and offenders • Characteristics of child pornography D’s • Does child pornography use lead to hands-on sex offending? • Forensic psychological evaluations and risk assessment in online solicitation and child pornography possession cases

  4. TO CATCH A “PREDATOR” These laws have been the topic of a media frenzy urged by television shows such as Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator” and investigators Bill O’Reilly and Hannity and Combs.

  5. To Catch a Predator While the statutes appear to aim towards protecting society from high risk sex offenders, the public is led to believe that all sex offenders are dangerous “predators.”

  6. TO CATCH A PREDATOR In fact, the term “predator” is a misnomer because if that term is used, it should define an offender who has a history of sexual crimes and who is likely to commit them in the future.

  7. ON-LINE PREDATORS? Many of these “On-Line” offenders are non-contact offenders, who either possess pornography and/or are caught attempting to set up a meeting with an underage person. These offenders are more likely than not to be low risk sex offenders who do not have a history of sex offending and who often have other motives to their sexual offending other than sexual deviance.

  8. ONLINE SOLICITATIONPUBLIC IMPRESSION Internet pedophiles have moved from the playground to the bedroom internet connection targeting young children by pretending to be other children, who lie about their ages, identities, and motives, who deceive children to provide phone numbers and addresses, who use MySpace and face book as contact venues, and who use this information to stalk, abduct, rape, and sometimes murder these children

  9. The TRUTH -Predominant online sex crimes victims are teenagers not children -Predominant crime scene scenario does not involve stranger molesters posing online as other children in order to set up an abduction and sexual assault -Only 5% of online sex crimes against children involved violence when meetings occurred, only 3% included abduction - Online offenders are generally not pedophiles -Of 6594 arrests for statutory rape, internet initiated sex crimes account for 7% of statutory rapes - 5% of the offenders truly concealed the fact that they were adults from their victims -80% were quite explicit about their sexual intentions towards the children Finkelhor, 2007; Wolak, Finkelhor, Mitchell, Ybarra, 2008

  10. INTERNET PREDATOR' STEREOTYPES DEBUNKED IN NEW STUDYFirst National Juvenile Online Victimization Study(N-JOV) • Internet offenders pretended to be teenagers in only 5 percent of the crimes studied by researchers. • Nearly 75 percent of victims who met offenders face-to-face did so more than once. • Online sex offenders are seldom violent, and cases involving stalking or abduction are very rare. • Youth who engaged in four or more risky online behaviors were much more likely to report receiving online sexual solicitations. The online risky behaviors included maintaining buddy lists that included strangers, discussing sex online with people they did not know in person and being rude or nasty online. • Boys who are gay or are questioning their sexuality may be more susceptible to Internet-initiated sex crimes than other populations. Researchers found boys were the victims in nearly one-quarter of criminal cases, and most cases included facts that suggested victims were gay or questioning their sexuality.

  11. USE OF THE INTERNET • Seduce or groom by having conversations, eventually sexual in nature, sending sexual pictures, or holding child on lap while viewing pornography, or illustrating how to perform sexual acts • Child pornography productions- using internet as a tool to distribute child pornography, i.e., downloading from Limewire, or posting your own pictures you created

  12. USE OF INTERNET 3) Arrange meetings or other communication-set up time and locations for meetings 4) Reward- attracting victims to home with promises of internet use 5) Advertise or sell- advertising victims for prostitution, offering minors to other offenders

  13. Internet mechanisms that may promote offending • Internet facilitates exposure to child porn • Easy access to internet groups that endorse legitimacy of sexual interest in underage youth • Websites allow avenues for offenders to tirade pornography and motivate some to molest and produce new images of trade gaining status for sex offenders • Anonymity that internet affords offenders who can groom and seduce victims from their home than from the street • Chatrooms offer easy and quick contact with youths

  14. ONLINE CHILD MOLESTES ARE GENERALLY NOT PEDOPHILES • Online child molesters target adolescents not young children/prepubescents- most sex offenders are not sexually deviant- sexually attracted to prepubescent children • Difficult for online offender to target prepubescent children because young children are online less, are supervised, and developmentally are less interested in relationships, sex, romance, than are adolescents.

  15. Internet initiated sex crimes against minors These crimes are usually not violent crimes, rather criminal/sexual seductions in which the offenders lure teens to meet for sexual encounters that play on the teens’ desires for thrill, romance, sexual information, understanding. These teens that meet the offenders are often troubled with histories of family turmoil and sexual/physical abuse. Wolak, Finkelhor, Mitchell, 2004

  16. Internet Sex Crimes Against Minors: The Response of Law Enforcement • Internet crimes against identified victims involving internet related sexual assaults and other sex crimes such as production of child porn committed against identifiable victims -39% of arrests • Internet solicitations to law enforcement posing as minors involving NO identified victims – 25% of arrests • Possession, distribution or trading internet child porn by offenders who did not use internet to sexually exploit identified victims or solicit undercover agents- 36% of arrests

  17. Internet Sex Crimes Against Minors: The Response of Law EnforcementProfiles of Offender and Offenses Age of offender- 17 or younger 3% 18-25 11% 26-39 45% 40 or older 41%

  18. Profiles of Offender and Offenses -Acted alone in crime 97% -Prior arrests for sex against children 10% -Known to be violent 11% -Possessed child porn 67% -Distributed child porn 22% -Solicited undercover officer 27% -Committed sex crime identified victim 45%

  19. Characteristics of Victims and Dynamics of Internet-initiated sex crimes -The teens are usually girls between 13-15 years of age (75%). -The offenders are older than 25 (76%). -In 73% of the crimes the youth meet the offender on multiple occasions for multiple sexual encounters. -About half of the victims were described by police as in love with or feeling close with the offender. In about 25% of these cases, the child ran away to be with the offender.

  20. Characteristics of Victims and Dynamics of Internet-initiated sex crimes Most offenders did not deceive victims about the fact they were adults who were interested in sexual relationships and most victims met and had sex with the adults on more than one occasion. 76% first encounters are in online chat rooms. (teen oriented sites, geographic locations, related to dating romance, to gays, and in few cases sites related to sexual encounters between adults and minors)

  21. Offender Deception -5% of offenders represented themselves online as peers of victims by claiming they were 17 or younger. 25% lowered there ages but still represented themselves as much older than their target victims -Deception about sexual motives was uncommon, 21% of offenders misrepresented or hid movies, but most of the deceivers were open about their wanting sex from the victims. Most misrepresentations involved insincere promises of love and romance. -26% lied about their physical appearance or other aspects of identity

  22. Characteristics of Victims and Dynamics of Internet-initiated sex crimes -Offender met victim in chatroom 76% -Offender communicated more than 1-6 months 48% -Offender and victim communicated online multiple ways 77% -Offender talked to victim by phone 79% -Offender sent pictures to victim 48% -Offender gave or offered victim $ gifts 47%

  23. Characteristics of Victims and Dynamics of Internet-initiated sex crimes -Offender engaged in cybersex with victim 20% -Offender sent sexual pictures to victim 18% -Offender transmitted adult pornography to victim 10% -Offender transmitted child pornography to victim 9% -Sexual offense was committed at face to face meeting 93% -Distance victim traveled to initial meeting 10 or less miles 52%

  24. Characteristics of Victims and Dynamics of Internet-initiated sex crimes -Distance offender or victim traveled more than 50 miles 50% -Offender crossed state line or international boundary 31% -Initial face to face meeting- public place 46%, hotel, 13%, offender’s home 19% victim’s home 20% -Victim went somewhere with offender 83% -Offender met victim more than once 73%

  25. -Most serious sexual offense committed- • Noncontact 1% • Fondling 3% • Oral sex 18% • Intercourse or other penetration 71% • Offender used violence or threat of violence 5% • Offender used coercion 16%

  26. Crime characteristics and aggravating factors -Victim was abducted moved more than 50 feet against will 3% -Illegally detained 8% -Injured by any means 2% -Victim reported missing to law enforcement 29% -Victim offered or given illegal drugs or alcohol 40% -Victim exposed to adult porn 23% -Victim exposed to child porn 15% -Victim photographed in a suggestive or sexual pose 21%

  27. Risk factors for the most serious online sexual solicitations -being female -using chat rooms -using the internet with cell phone -talking with people met online -sending personal information to those met online -talking about sex online -experiencing offline physical and sexual abuse Mitchell, Finkelhor, Wolak, 2007

  28. Who reports crime? National Crime Victimization Survey found that 28% of violent crimes against juveniles ages 12-17 become known to the police vs. 48% of crimes towards adults The younger the victim, the more underreporting

  29. WHY? More likely to have reports when: • The victim is adolescent v. preadolescent • Adult and multiple offenders • Physical injuries • Female victims • Families have prior contacts with police • Believing the police would take situation seriously • Believing child still is in danger

  30. TYPES OF ONLINE STINGS1) PROACTIVE The National Juvenile Online Victimization Survey has studied law enforcement investigations of Internet sex crimes against minors. Each year, one in five youth encounter online solicitations that are sexual in nature via chat-rooms or instant messaging routes.

  31. PROACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS Law enforcement agents posts profile on Internet or goes into chatroom posing as girl or boy usually 13-15, and waits to be contacted by adult seeking young teen for sexual encounter. Investigator responds to conversation initiated by offender and allows offender to develop relationship that culminates in face to face meeting where offender is arrested. Investigator is careful not to initiate talk about sexual topics or propose sexual activity.

  32. Proactive Investigations Agent uses investigative resources to track down the identify of the offender and keep logs of all online interactions which constitute evidence of the crime.

  33. To proactively catch a predator •

  34. Proactive Investigations The offender is charged with attempted sexual assault, illegal use of a computer to solicit a minor, and sometimes possession and distribution of child pornography

  35. Proactive Investigations The legal decisions pertaining to entrapment in undercover drug operations apply to internet undercover operations. Investigators may not improperly induce a person to commit a criminal act.

  36. Proactive Investigations These cases are referred to as proactive because they allow law enforcement to act without waiting for an offender to commit a crime against a real juvenile victim.

  37. PROACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS 25% of all arrests for Internet sex crimes against minors were due to “proactive” investigations where police pose online as minors or pretend to be mothers teaching their children about sex.[i] [i] K. Mitchell, J. Wolak, & D. Finkelhor. (2005). Police Posing as Juveniles Online to Catch Sex Offenders: Is it Working? Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, Vol. 17(3).

  38. PROACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS • Federal agencies 19% • Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces 18% • State, county, or legal agencies 60% • Probation and parole agencies 3%

  39. 2) Reactive Investigations Undercover investigations can be referred to as “reactive” or “take over” when police learn of a solicitation with a real juvenile victim and they then pose as the original minor and target the suspect.

  40. Internet Sex Crimes • In the year 2000, one quarter (644) of the Internet sex crimes against juveniles (about 2500 total arrests) were based on proactive investigation. -Other arrests were for crimes committed by the offenders who met the juveniles online (20%), -Other sex crimes committed against juveniles by family members or acquaintances against juvenile victims (19%), -and the possession, distribution, or trading of pornography on the Internet (36% of arrests).

  41. HOW DO THEY MEET IN PROACTIVE INVESTIGATIONS -Most investigators posed as female adolescents 80% of the time with 98% posing as age 12 or older. -Most investigators first met their targets in chat rooms or through internet relay chat 56% or through instant messages 31%. -Nearly half of all investigations began in sex oriented chat rooms 87% of those that begin in chat rooms began in sex oriented chat rooms.

  42. Communicating with the cop -Multiple forms of online communication between targets and investigators were seen in 87% of these investigations, i.e., chat rooms 55% instant messages 79% and email 82%. -The length of time the investigator communicated with the targets was usually short, one month or less 59% and between 1 and 6 months 37%.

  43. -The number of online interactions between the online persona and target was usually 10 or less 46% or between 11 and 30 44%. -The targets often brought sex related items to the meetings 63% of cases resulting in meetings and 48% of all cases, such as contraceptives and lubricant or sexual devices, i.e., dildo

  44. Comparison between Proactive and Reactive Cases -The investigators posing online were slightly younger than the juvenile victims 13.8 vs. 14.4 -Online targets met over half of the investigators in chat rooms 56% compared to 79% of the offenders with juvenile victims but were more likely to have met through instant messages 31% vs. 11%. -Proactive contacts involve more sexually explicit contact often through sex oriented chat rooms whereas in juvenile victim cases, there are geographically focused chat rooms.

  45. How do they meet? -Online targets were more likely to have met the investigator in sexually oriented chat rooms 48% vs. 15%. The chat rooms in the juvenile victim cases were less likely to be sexually oriented. -Proactive investigations tended to develop more quickly than the juvenile victim cases with over half 59% of the communication occurring for one month or less versus 30% for the juvenile victim cases. -Juvenile victim cases had more contact between victim and offender than in proactive cases.

  46. How dangerous are those arrested in proactive investigations? Proactive offenders have: • Less adult related sexually deviant behavior • Less known violence • Fewer prior arrests for sexual and nonsexual offending • Less deviant and dangerous than those in reactive investigations

  47. Dangerousness -13% of offenders arrested in proactive stings had committed crimes involving online victims, -13% had physically molested a minor as well. -About 50% of proactive offenders were found to possess child pornography.

  48. Demographic differences between proactive and reactive offenders Proactive offenders at the time of their crimes were likely to be: - older 37.7 vs. 34.7, -have higher income levels, -be employed full time, -be married, and -have limited with minors, mostly as parents or relatives.

  49. Are suspects in online investigations being successfully prosecuted? Prosecutors involved in proactive cases 68% vs. 46%. 94% of proactive suspects charged with at least one felony, 15% went to trial and 91% resulted in pleas. Rates about the same for juvenile victim cases

  50. PLEA BARGAINS 56% of proactive 42% reactive pled to a lesser charge or fewer counts. Characteristics of the defendant that contributed to plea bargains included: 1)lack of prior child molestation history, 2) cooperation, 3) remorse, 4)lack of criminal history, 5) willingness for treatment