In the 2010 study of adult-minor sexual contacts through social media, almost three-quarters of the cases originated with investigators in sting operations, closer examination of which frequently reveals entrapment.
Another finding: the dirty old men are not old, the child victims aren’t children, and the sex is usually not sex.
For one thing, they are easy to abuse in order to load on penalties when the state is frustrated by an acquittal or lesser conviction than it sought.
That is what happened in New Hampshire, where Labrie was acquitted of felony sexual assault but found guilty of misdemeanor statutory rape.
The study is part of ongoing research on online sexual and criminal behavior conducted by the University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center, considered a foremost authority on such matters.
The researchers there also found that adults who meet minors online for sexual purposes “are not different or more dangerous” than those who seek sex with kids they already know, either online or on terra firma.
In late nineteenth-century cities on both sides of the Atlantic, a working girl’s libertinage—dancing, flirting, or casual prostitution—offended Victorian morals, and her exploitation in the factories and streets enraged feminists and social reformers.For another, because we all increasingly—and kids almost exclusively—rely on social media to conduct our family, social, business, and, yes, sexual lives, enforcement of these laws would require NSA-like blanket surveillance and would seriously damage freedom of speech.Indeed, challengers to North Carolina’s law argue that it is an unconstitutional curtailment of sex offenders’ First Amendment rights.But here is the deeper problem: the online offender statutes—not to mention press coverage, social analysis, education, parenting advice, and general fretting that goes with them—are built on nothing but fear. Specifically, it is dangerous to children, and in a particular way: sexually.The underlying assumption is that Internet communication is fundamentally different from other means of communication. The stated intent of these laws is to protect children from “Internet predators”—even if those predators are themselves.