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Fortnite and Sex Crime Allegations

Published: Feb 01, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children

It has been widely reported in the media that Fortnite and other online games are attracting sexual predators. In Broward County, Florida, a 41-year-old man was recently arrested and charged with sex crimes related to victimizing at least 20 children. The man would use the popular game Fortnite to coerce his victims into sending him explicit photographs and even engaging in sex.

Given the increase in these kinds of crimes, law enforcement has gotten very aggressive in filing charges for sex crimes involving children. Unfortunately, many people are often wrongly accused and charged with crimes they didn’t commit. If you or a loved one has been charged with such an offense, contact a Houston child sex crimes lawyer from The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767, or reach out via the online form.

Sex Crimes With a Child

There are a number of sexual offenses involving children you can face accusations of stemming from video games, including:

Online Solicitation of a Minor

With online games, sex crimes involving a child typically result in at least a charge for online solicitation of a minor. The following allegations can lead to charges:

  • You communicated with a minor in a sexually explicit manner.
  • You attempted to distribute sexually explicit material to a minor.
  • You solicited a minor to meet with you or someone else to engage in sexual intercourse or some other kind of sexual contact.

A conviction for online solicitation carries severe penalties. Communicating with a minor in a sexually explicit manner and attempting to distribute explicit material are both third-degree felonies. However, they can be elevated to a second-degree felony if the minor is under the age of 14. Soliciting a minor to meet is a second-degree felony. The penalties associated with these felonies are as follows:

  • Third-degree felony – two to 10 years in prison, and up to $10,000 in fines
  • Second-degree felony – two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine

In addition to heavy fines and significant time in prison, you will also have to register as a sex offender. If you’ve been charged with online solicitation of a minor, you should speak to a criminal defense attorney right away.

Child Pornography

Sex crimes that occur via online gaming platforms also often result in child pornography charges. Texas Penal Code Section 43.26 makes it illegal to distribute, possess, or participate in the creation of any images that depict someone under the age of 18 engaged in sexual acts.

You could be charged with possession of child pornography as a result of someone simply sending you a single picture online. If you possess six or more of the same photo, you could be deemed to have possessed the image with intent to promote child pornography. Possession of child pornography is also illegal under federal law, so you could be facing federal charges.

A first-time child pornography charge is a third-degree felony. As with online solicitation, you therefore face a fine of up to $10,000 and anywhere from two to 10 years in prison. Subsequent offenses will result in longer prison sentences. Finally, a conviction will require that you register as a sex offender.

Why You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney

Charges for sex crimes involving children are some of the most serious criminal charges you can face. A conviction will change your life forever, and won’t end with prison – the stigma will continue to follow you even after you’ve paid your fines or served your sentence. Other consequences of a conviction include:

  • Loss of the right to own a firearm
  • Difficulty finding a job
  • Loss of child custody or visitation
  • Immigration issues
  • Difficulties in getting accepted to college

Just because you’ve been charged, however, doesn’t mean there is no hope. An attorney who has experience with online sex crimes involving children can formulate a strong defense. A careful review of the facts, in-depth knowledge of the law, and dedicated advocacy can help you avoid being an easy conviction for the prosecution. (Learn more about how a criminal defense attorney can help with your case.)

Contact Ned Barnett – Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing charges for a sex crime involving a child, the best thing you can do is hire a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney. With dedicated, aggressive legal representation, attorney Ned Barnett will fight for you to obtain a fair result. Call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.