Governor Murphy has included $600,000 in funding for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Initially, there was no mention of funding in the bill, but, stirred by recent figures, Gov. Murphy has since amended this.
On October 9, 2020, reports were released indicating that solicitation of children online had risen 75% from the previous year. The 2019 tips totaled 4,148, and the 2020 tips topped at 5,251. The prevailing belief is that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been spending more time indoors. As a result, predators have been more busily searching for victims. The ICAC’s commander, Lt. John Pizzuro, has noted what he calls a “disturbing trend.” According to him, incidents of internet predators targeting younger children, between 7 – 9, has also been on the rise.
The trend has also spiked upward throughout the country, almost doubling. There were 6.3 million nationwide tips in 2019, and 2020 reported 12 million. These numbers, however, show a total of all abuse tips, not just tips regarding online abusers.
With the approval of this new budget, the ICAC is slated to see a $1.2 million budget in 2022, as the federal government will add another $600,000 to its funding.
Sexual Predator Allegations
With the rise in funding, the inevitable rise in accusations will come. We all want to keep our kids safe, but law enforcement makes mistakes and misreads situations. The very accusation of sexual misconduct can have an enormous impact on someone’s life. Reputations are ruined, and jobs are sometimes lost before people have even had a chance to defend themselves in court.
If convicted, you are put on a sexual offender registry. The list can include your address and the details of the conviction. This will make finding a new residence or a new job difficult.
Defenses Against Online Solicitation
The Law Offices of Joseph S. Scura is here to defend citizens accused of sex crimes. We will review the facts of your case and craft a defense based on what we see. Referencing police reports with the evidence, we can find discrepancies and use them to your advantage. Here are some common defenses against online soliciting.
Challenging “Lure or Entice”
New Jersey law directly states that online language used to “lure or entice” a child into meeting you is illegal. Beyond that phrase, there isn’t much clarity on what that actually means. Were you genuinely trying to encourage someone to meet you alone, or are the authorities just interpreting it that way? Dissecting the language, we may be able to demonstrate how the whole thing is a misunderstanding, and no one was being incentivized into a meeting.
How did this arrest happen? Was an officer posing as a someone else? Did a supposed “child” try to lure and entice you into meeting them? What, exactly, was your response? Did you set up a meeting and really try to go through with it, or did you say something benign that wasn’t really a yes or a no?
These are the kinds of questions that should be asked in court. Cops should not be boxing people in, setting traps to “get” someone who believed they were having an innocent interaction.
Dissecting Computer Forensics
Sometimes, police and prosecutors will use the computer data itself, not an actual communication, to charge someone. The process is detailed, and it’s easy to make broad assumptions one way or another to implicate someone. A good legal team can evaluate this data for discrepancies and incorrect inferences.
If you’re facing a sex crime allegation, don’t go through it along. Set up a free consultation with us online or at (973) 832-0841. We’re here to listen to your side of the story.