As we enter the last week of the course and we look back upon the many different forms of

white-collar crime, we know that many types of white-collar crime are committed through the

use of pen, paper, computers, etc. instead of guns and knives. Many white-collar crimes

involve financial gain, but is the use of a computer to engage in cybersex with children a

white-collar crime? Merely communicating over the internet is not a violent act, yet the

intention of the perpetrator may be very violent indeed. Please state your opinion and cite

the reasons why you believe you are correct.

Unit 8 Lecture

The Cybersex Offender and Children


The law enforcement community increasingly faces situations involving explicit chat discussions and other

disturbing online activities that victimize minors. Officers encounter troubling images and dialogue during

undercover operations, as well as other types of efforts, such as computer forensic examinations targeted at

locating missing children.

Because of the capabilities that computers offer criminals lurking in the Internet’s shadows, these individuals

are particularly threatening to the community. From the safety of their homes, pedophiles can use the Internet

to anonymously and simultaneously prepare numerous children for future molestations. With the click of a

mouse, child pornographers easily can distribute their collections to many other offenders or even to juveniles.

Cybersex offenders who target young people use computers for purposes that may include viewing, storing,

producing, sending, and receiving child pornography; contacting, grooming, and enticing juveniles for

victimization; and communicating with (and, thus, helping to validate) each other. Upon their apprehension,

these individuals often will attempt to justify their actions. Law enforcement officers must learn to identify and

understand such offenders to effectively diffuse their defenses and lay the groundwork for a successful



A recent study of 1,501 Internet users ranging from 10 to 17 years of age revealed the following disturbing


Approximately 1 in 5 received a sexual solicitation over the Internet in the past year.

One in 33 experienced an aggressive approach—an individual who requested a meeting; telephoned;

or sent regular mail, money, or gifts.

One in 4 had unwanted exposure to explicit pictures in the past year.

One in 17 faced threats or harassment.

Youths reported less than 10 percent of sexual solicitations and only 3 percent of unwanted exposure

episodes to authorities, such as law enforcement agencies, Internet service providers (ISP), and


1 hotline.

Cybersex offenses have a lasting and, thus, devastating effect on victims. For instance, electronically

maintained images do not deteriorate. They also can become dispersed easier, faster, and to a wider audience

than hard copy materials. Once distributed on the Internet, they are harder to retrieve and control. Because of

these factors, digital pornographic images have a longer duration of harm for victims than nonelectronic


Through the Internet, cybersex offenders can affect victims without any physical contact. Individuals easily can

forward explicit images to juveniles. Subjects also can obtain innocent pictures of children via the Internet or

other sources and then “morph” those images into pornography. 2 Until the pictures begin surfacing online,

these juveniles may not become aware of this type of victimization.

Additionally, these offenders use electronic images, as they would with hard copy materials, of child

pornography and even favorite cartoon characters engaged in sexual acts to encourage or entice juveniles to

participate in inappropriate conduct. This exposure serves to desensitize young people and make them think

such behavior is normal.

For these victims, finding justice can prove difficult. Of course, no one country or authority governs the

Internet’s content; issues of child pornography and exploitation frequently transcend jurisdictional boundaries.

This causes not only legal problems but also difficulties for juveniles and their families when seeking redress.

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