With the rise of the Internet came a new form of sexual offense: Enticement. Across the nation, most states have statutes regulating the proper activities in which adults and children may engage. Simply talking to a child is naturally something that is lawful, but talking to a child in such a way as to entice him/her into a sexual situation is illegal.
Another term for this is “Child Grooming.” The object is to befriend a child so as to form a bond then prey on that trust for sexual gratification. With the rise of the Internet, the ability of unknown adults to tempt children into compromising situations increased. In response, Missouri and other states passed legislation specifically-related to such crimes.
Put simply, anyone over the age of 21 who attempts by any means to persuade anyone under 15 to engage in sexual contact of any form, is guilty of “Enticement of a Child” under Section 566.151.1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.
In charging someone with enticement of a child, the states’ prosecution is stating that the defendant used some means to lure a child into a situation wherein sexual relations with the child may be possible. In many cases, the Internet is a tool which is used for this purpose.
Also in many cases, the “child” is a law enforcement official posing as such for the sake of building a case against the defendant without his/her knowledge. Missouri law specifically allows such behavior making it a non-defense that the alleged child was an officer of the state.
In addition, a person can be charged with Enticement of a Child by simply misrepresenting their age online to a child in a way that would reasonably be interpreted as seeking to engage the child for sexual purposes.
In Missouri, the age of consent is 17. There is no ‘age gap’ provision but Missouri does allow for an affirmative defense if the age of the victim could have reasonably been mistaken.
If you are facing charges of Enticement of a Child, you are facing serious penalties if convicted. Depending on the circumstances, a conviction could result in a sentence of at minimum five years’ state incarceration. However, the maximum penalty is 30 years in prison. Essentially, there are three possible charges: Class B felony, Class C felony, or Class D felony.
Attempting to entice is the Class D felony which carries the lower sentence.
Actual enticement of a child is a Class C felony UNLESS the defendant currently or previously violated other provisions of the law. Other provisions which play into these charges include:
If additional provisions are brought into play, the charges may be increased to a Class B felony. In the event of a conviction, the maximum penalties will apply.
In addition to these penalties, fines up to $5000 may be imposed and a conviction for child enticement requires sex offender registration for life. If any professional certifications are held in the state, these may be forfeit.
Defenses to Enticement of a Child depend largely on the evidence and the circumstances. Although each situation may be similar, each is different. It is the differences which can make a huge difference between a conviction or a reduction or even dropping of charges. Your attorney will have many questions for you and will look at the situation from all angles.
If you were apprehended in a sting operation, the evidence is likely to be strong. However, if you were arrested at home, that is, not actively engaged in criminal activity, the defense strategy will be different. In any case, you need an attorney who can lead the charge with compassion and dignity.
You need an attorney who knows how to navigate the nuances of the child endangerment laws. You need attorney Jason A. Korner.
If you are facing a charge of enticement of a child in Missouri, you need a Missouri Attorney with the experience and expertise to launch a strong defense. Not only is your immediate liberty at stake, but because a conviction carries automatic registration as a sex offender, your liberty after release is an issue as well.
Jason A. Korner has experience on both sides of the legal battlefield. Regardless of the charges you face, he can get the best possible results. But time is not on your side so you need to call now. Call 314-409-2659 or click here to fill out an information form to schedule your free consultation.