Prosecutors have begun presenting their case-in-chief against Jerry Sandusky, the 68-year-old former Penn State University assistant football coach accused of sexually abusing 10 boys during a period of 15 years. Sandusky is alleged to have selected many of the accusers while they participated in the coach’s charity for at-risk children, known as The Second Mile.
If Sandusky were to have used the Internet to select any of those participants, an online component might also have been added to the list of charges he is facing, like the charge known in Florida as traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual conduct. Most states have their own own laws governing unlawful sexual activity using the Internet.
In Florida, allegations that an adult used the Internet to arrange a sexual encounter with someone under the age of 18, and then traveled any distance to engage in the alleged conduct, may constitute the offense of traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act.
If you suspect that you will be approached by law enforcement about travelling to meet a minor charges, don’t delay in contacting an attorney. A well-prepared defense is critical because the potential sentence for this second-degree felony is severe: up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of sex offender probation, and/or $10,000.00 in fines.
In addition, each separate use might qualify as a separate, chargeable criminal offense. That means that if you used a computer on four separate occasions for the alleged activity, you might be charged with four separate counts.
An attorney can review your case to determine if any defenses are available to you, arising from law enforcement that violated any of your procedural rights or entrapment by police posing as underage participants. The earlier you seek legal counsel, the better your defense preparation will be.
Source: USA Today, “Opening statements begin in Sandusky trial,” Kevin Johnson, June 11, 2012