Internet Sex Crimes
Prosecutors are becoming more and more aggressive in prosecuting people for sex crimes related to the internet. In addition to any underlying crime, the prosecutor can tack on a charge of “using a computer to commit a crime” in violation of MCL 750.145d. Prosecutors frequently add this charge any time that a computer was used in connection with another crimes, such as possession of child pornography, accosting a minor for immoral purposes, solicitation of prostitution, etc. This penalty for using a computer to commit a crime varies based on the penalty for the underlying crime, but ranges from one year to life in prison. The sentence for using a computer to commit a crime may be ordered to run consecutive to the underlying crime.
We’re seeing more cases of law enforcement monitoring chat rooms and message boards. In these cases, after they believe that a crime is occurring or has occurred, they frequently have a federal law enforcement official obtain the IP address records from the suspect’s internet service provider. After finding out where a suspect IP address is physically located, they frequently obtain a search warrant and seize the computers in question.
During the execution of the search warrant, the government will try to obtain evidence that the suspect was the person using the computer. It is critically imp0rtant that a person being investigated refuse to answer questions about computer usage. Without an admission, it is very difficult for the government to prove who used a computer. Common questions asked by the agents executing the search warrant are “who uses the computers?”, “does anyone else have the password to this computer?”, “who owns this computer?”, “who paid for this computer?”, etc. They will be trying to gather information to prove that you were using the computer.
Under both Michigan and Federal law, it is a crime to lie to a police officer or federal agent investigating a crime. For this reason alone, you should never speak to the police or federal agents regarding an investigation that they’re conducting. If information needs to be relayed to the police, you should allow your lawyer to do it for you.
If you’re being investigated for an internet sex crime, you should contact a qualified attorney before speaking to anyone. We’re available to discuss your case 24/7. Call us at 616-773-2945.