What Is an Internet Sex Crime in Pennsylvania?

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
June 16, 2021

What Is an Internet Sex Crime in Pennsylvania?Pennsylvania and federal law enforcement take a forceful approach against internet sex crimes. Penalties for internet sex crimes, including child pornography or attempting to solicit a minor through chat rooms or social networking, can lead to severe, life-altering consequences that may involve years, if not a lifetime, as a registered sex offender. As a result, it is essential for anyone accused of committing these crimes to have a skilled internet sex crimes defense attorney who knows what it takes to negotiate reductions in charges and has in-depth knowledge of Pennsylvania’s laws relating to sex crimes.

If you or a loved one are suspected of committing any internet sex crime in Pennsylvania, no matter how unfounded the claims may be, contact Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. Our Montgomery County sex crimes defense lawyers apply over 65 years of experience to defend clients facing charges for sex crimes across Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

What Is Considered an Internet Sex Crime?

Charges for internet sex crimes can result in different ways, from attempting to meet individuals for illegal sexual relations to viewing and distributing images of minors over the internet. Both Pennsylvania and U.S. federal laws make it illegal to contact an individual under age 18 on the internet in a manner that is sexual in nature. This kind of communication includes sending or receiving explicit texts, photographs, or any other exchange that is sexual in nature.

Internet sex offenses include much more than child pornography charges. In Pennsylvania, internet sex crimes include:

  • “Sexting,” or sharing nude images of a minor, leading to child pornography distribution
  • Online solicitation of a minor for sex, often through chat rooms or social media
  • Online prostitution and solicitation
  • Video child pornography
  • Luring a child
  • Statutory rape
  • Downloading child pornographic images off a website, leading to child pornography possession or receipt

You could also potentially be charged with corruption of minors with an internet sex crime. Depending on the details of the alleged offense committed, both the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the U.S. federal government may prosecute a case relating to internet sex crimes.

Entrapment of Internet Sex Offenses in Pennsylvania 

Under Pennsylvania’s “WireTap Act” under Title 18 Pa. C.S. §5701et seq., law enforcement officers can entrap individuals looking to travel to have sexual relations with minors. Today, it has become a widespread practice for cyber crime officers to go undercover and pose as 15-year-old—or even younger—children in online chat rooms. While undercover, they may pretend to sell or distribute child pornography to catch suspects.

Television shows like NBC Dateline frequently broadcast sting operations of adults who have been entrapped by undercover officers posing as children. Usually, the criminal charge applied in these chat room stings is the attempted sexual assault of a minor.

Additionally, law enforcement officers may take note of files suspected to include child pornography circulated online. That way, when someone downloads the files, officers communicate with the suspect’s Internet Service Provider to track the suspect’s internet activity and gain access to their email.

How Can I Avoid Charges for an Internet Sex Crime?

You should never deliberately create, share, or store sexually related images or videos of minors. Apart from that, it is imperative to be extremely cautious when surfing the internet, especially on the dark web. Suppose you are engaging in an online forum or chat room and an online user you are messaging tells you, or even implies, that they are under 18 years old. In that case, your best course of action is to stop communicating with them immediately. It may also be a good idea to leave the chat room or online forum altogether.

What Are the Consequences of an Internet Sex Crime Conviction?

In Pennsylvania, an individual charged with committing an internet sex crime may face maximum prison sentences, steep fines in the tens of thousands of dollars, and registration as a sex offender with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), as required under Megan’s Law. Anyone who must register as a sex offender is strictly monitored, possibly for the rest of their lives.

As criminal defense attorneys who advocate for individuals alleged of committing sex crimes, the primary objective of the attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford is to prevent you from going to prison and prevent you from being required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Call Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Trusted Internet Sex Crime Defense Attorneys 

The implications of an internet sex crime conviction are severe. In cases where defendants are falsely accused and found not guilty, the accusations could irreparably harm your reputation. The criminal defense lawyers at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford are prepared to help you get your life back. Our team of talented attorneys includes former prosecutors who know what it takes to negotiate with prosecutors with strategic litigation and a powerful defense on your behalf. 

Schedule your free and confidential consultation with our seasoned criminal defense attorneys skilled in creating robust defense strategies against internet sex crimes. Give us a call at 215-822-7575 or complete a contact form today.

Legally reviewed by:
Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C.
Pennsylvania Attorney's
June 16, 2021
Established in 1952 by Irwin S. Rubin, Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford P.C. boasts over 65 years of experience serving clients throughout Pennsylvania. Renowned for its commitment to ethical representation, the firm has garnered prestigious accolades, including being named the "Best Law Firm" for its outstanding legal defense work by U.S. News & World Report. Their team of seasoned attorneys, recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and Rising Stars, brings unparalleled expertise to a wide range of legal matters, ensuring exceptional representation for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations.