Texas readers may be shocked to learn that up to 82 percent of online sex crimes involving minors may begin with social media.
Specifically, offenders may search a potential victim's profile on a social media site to gain personal information about interests and daily routines. Depending on how often a minor posts to Facebook, Twitter or another social media site, a sex offender may be able to determine the minor's present location.
Yet the online stalking is not always subtle. In one case, a Texas minor received a Facebook friend request from a registered sex offender. That request was followed with inappropriate online messages. The nature of those messages caused the girl to alert who mother, who contacted the local police.
At the point, the police launched a sting operation. The girl consented to the police taking over her Facebook profile. An undercover, posing as the girl, then continued the conversation with the sex offender until enough evidence had been obtained to make an arrest. The undercover officer than arranged a meeting, and the offender was arrested when he arrived at the designated meeting place.
As this post illustrates, Texas law enforcement units aggressively target suspected online sex offenders. Many local police units have officers with specific training in fighting online predators. Internet sex crimes also carry potentially severe sentences in Texas, with charges such as Internet stalking or harassment, and online solicitation of a minor. In this prosecutorial environment, a criminal defendant facing such charges will need an experienced Internet sex crimes lawyer to aggressively challenge the prosecutor's evidence.
Source: yourhoustonnews.com, "Mother of online solicitation 'anti-victim' speaks out," Stephanie Buckner, Feb. 8, 2013