Appeal denied for internet crimes through Skype
Attorneys for a 50-year-old man accused of sexual misconduct with a teenager failed to secure special status for their client in late December. The lawyers had argued that the man, who had formerly taught fifth grade, should not have been charged with an internet crimes because he did not download any of the videos associated with explicit sexual Skype encounters. The man is accused of persuading a 15-year-old girl to perform sex acts through the online video communications software. The man was attempting to appeal the assertion that he had violated state law. He claimed that the Skype communication was not subject to existing laws because he did not download any of the explicit videos to his computer. Further, his attorneys argued that his actions did not fit any Internet crime definitions already promulgated by the state. The man had been convicted of the allegations in mid-2012. The former teacher was initially sentenced to a 16-month prison term with a 56-month probation period, but that sentence was expanded to 30 months to 10 years after prosecutors intervened. He admitted that he and the teen had participated in masturbation through Skype, which is a Web-based live chat and streaming service. Further, the man said he sent additional pornographic links containing inappropriate images of children to the alleged victim. A higher court determined that Skype contact and the transmission of Internet links still constitute Internet crime under existing provisions. Still, the appeal exposed some shortcomings in state law, as those charged with internet crimes may be subject to interpretation of the law rather than its explicit provisions. Criminal defendants in such sex crimes cases deserve to have their rights protected by qualified criminal defense attorneys. These professionals can help defendants learn more about the nature of the allegations they face, helping them make the most educated decisions about their upcoming criminal processes.