Missouri is serious about sex crimes and internet crimes against children in particular. However, when it comes to Internet sex crimes, the state is lagging somewhat.
Naturally, for anyone engaging in certain soon-to-be-illegal Internet activities this comes as good news.
Yet regardless of specific laws, Missouri does have the foundation for charging people with a variety of Internet-related sex crimes when the circumstances suggest it does.
Because Internet sex crimes are relatively new, there are many misconceptions.
In this article, many of these questions will be addressed. If, upon reading this page you still have questions, get in touch.
Especially get in touch if your questions involve a pending case. You need help. We are here to help.
What Constitutes an Internet Sex Crime Charge in Missouri?
So, what constitutes an Internet sex crime in the state of Missouri? To be clear, a law specifying “Internet sex crime” does not exist.
That does not mean that there are no laws which can be applied to sex crimes involving the Internet. There are. Some of these include…
- Sexual misconduct. (i.e. viewing pornography in a public place, transmitting unwanted sexually explicit photos),
- Cyber-stalking. In Missouri, there need not be a specific law regarding cyber-stalking. Current law allows that any time someone is caused “emotional distress” by the intentional actions of another to cause such distress, it is a Class E felony known as first degree Harassment.
- Child enticement/endangerment. Missouri was one of the first states to enact child endangerment laws specifically targeting adults who seduce children using the Internet. This could include, but is not limited to sexting with minors, posing online as a minor in order to win the trust of such, or attempting to lure a child away from their home for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification therefrom.
- Failure to register as a convicted sex offender. If you fail to register your address, maintain your state ID, or fail to adhere to any of the requirements of a convicted sex offender, it is a criminal offense. Although not an Internet sex crime per se, such failure is a Class E felony in Missouri and a Federal crime as well per 18 U.S.C. §2250.
- Promoting sexual acts in advertising. Adding to the Human Trafficking laws, the Missouri Legislature has made it a criminal offense to advertise sex acts, in particular, prostitution. This could foreseeably apply to people placing ads in Craigslist or Backpage Personals. Although both sites have disclaimers regarding sexual activities via their website, these disclaimers do not protect individuals from state and local laws.
What are the Possible Penalties if Convicted of Internet Sex Crime Charges?
Penalties for Internet sex crime charges can be severe. Much depends on the specific charges. Missouri applies sentencing according to the offense class. So whereas sexual misconduct could be a misdemeanor resulting in a few months’ jail time, child enticement via the Internet can result in a life sentence.
The time incurred is dependent on all factors included in the crime. Generally, when facing one sex crime charge, you can expect additional related charges.
Thus, although your particular Internet-related sex crime charge may be light, the related charges could be worse.
Because the possible sentences for Internet sex crimes in Missouri can be so severe (and so confusing), you need an attorney who has the experience navigating the sometimes murky waters of the Missouri criminal justice system.
You need an attorney who as seen sex crimes from the perspective of the prosecution. You need Jason A. Korner in your corner.
What Are Defenses to Internet Sex Crime Charges?
Because most alleged Internet crimes will involve a computer inside a private residence, one of the key defenses will be to question who was at the keyboard.
Of course, during an investigation, authorities will have likely uncovered evidence which would make such a defense impossible.
So another avenue of attack on the charges is to justify the actions. Although an affirmative defense is not strong, it is possible.
In addition, there is always the option of seeking a reduced sentence via plea agreement.
These defenses and more are possible; every case is different. The precise defense used in your case will depend on…
- Actual guilt or innocence
- The available evidence
- The specifics of the case
- The circumstances of the alleged crime
- Forensic analysis of your computer
- Timing…facing facts, Internet sex crimes are great for political sound bites. If you happen to get charged with such a crime at a time when a conviction would be expedient to political forces, expect a tough battle.
Internet Sex charges are a fairly new arena. Only those with an understanding of both the Law and the Internet are in the best position to be good advocates for you.
Facing an Internet Sex Crime Charge? Contact My Office.
The mere fact that you found this article amid the millions of others shows that we understand the law of the Internet.
However, at the Law Offices of Jason A. Korner our first passion is criminal law. We believe that everyone, regardless of guilt, deserves the most passionate defense possible.
If you have been charged with an Internet sex crime, you need an attorney who will fight for you. Such charges can be tough.
People will learn of your arrest. You may lose friends. Some family members may turn on you as well.
There could be problems on your job. You need a great attorney in your corner who can both represent you in court but also advise you outside.
Jason A. Korner is here for you. Call now for a free consultation. 314-409-2659.
Frequent Missouri Sex Crime Questions
Does Missouri have a law against Sexting?
Missouri has no laws forbidding sexting between consenting adults.
Child pornography laws apply to images. Age 18 is the minimum age for both appearing in and consenting for such images.
Can someone be charged with Sexual Harassment using the Internet?
In Missouri, sexual harassment in the workplace is a crime and harassment anywhere is a crime.
So the short answer is yes, though not specifically those exact terms.
Is it illegal to take and sell Upskirt Photos in Missouri?
Upskirt images are photos that are taken without the knowledge of the ‘model.’ Upskirt photos are taken using hidden cameras in the toe of a shoe, an open bag on the floor or carried, or wherever a camera can be hidden so as to take photos under the dress or skirt of the unsuspecting.
Usually, the woman who has had such photos taken of her does not learn of the images and has no reason to suspect such a thing has happened.
Because such photos are taken in public, many do not see them as criminal. However, arguments to the opposite are that a person’s privacy has been violated.
In some states, taking upskirt photos is illegal; Missouri currently has no such laws, but the laws regarding sexual misconduct could foreseeably be applied by a zealous prosecutor.
Is Revenge Porn legal in Missouri?
As with upskirt photos, revenge porn is not a crime in Missouri…yet.
Around the United States and indeed the world, Revenge Porn is gaining traction as a criminal offense.
Revenge porn consists of pornography created by couples who later breakup. The revenge part is that the once private video is made public in revenge for the breakup.
However, there is evidence that some people are dating just to get the sex video. Once made, they quickly breakup and post the video online.
Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 650 Department of Public Safety Section 650.120.1 Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 43 Highway Patrol, State Section 650.120.1 Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 565 Offenses Against the Person Section 650.120.1 Missouri State Highway Patrol Sex Offender Registration Chapters 589, 589.400-426 Missouri Revised Statutes Chapter 566 Sexual Offenses August 28, 2015 Missouri expands crime of sex trafficking to cover ads