Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child (C.R.S. 18-3-405.4) is a class 4 felony in Arapahoe County, Douglas County, or anywhere in the state of Colorado. A person commits this serious offense if he or she uses a telephone, computer, or electronic means of communication to entice a person under 15 years old into doing specific sexual acts. It doesn’t matter if the person is actually under the age of 15, as long as a prosecutor can convince a jury the defendant thought he or she was communicating with someone under 15 years old, and at least four years younger than the perpetrator.
With the high publicity given to sting operations designed to charge someone with Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child, it seems impossible that someone would actually believe anything someone tells them through social media. However, the number of arrests which are still being made show many people are not listening or are willing to take huge risks when the “bait” is tempting.
Detectives in Jefferson County have been working an ongoing sting operation for over nine years called CHEEZO. It is run by a husband and wife team that seems knows how to stay within the law when fishing for people. They target and entice lonely men into sexually explicit relationships by posing as girls under the age of 15 in sex chat rooms. The CHEEZO website posts photos of their catch like an angler hangs a trophy on a wall. This one ongoing sting operation boast a total of 655 arrests since it started in 2005, and a total of 46 arrests so far in 2013.
CHEEZO, which is run by the Jefferson County DA’s office, boasts their numbers of arrests rather than the numbers of convictions. There is a big difference between arrests and convictions. Prosecutors and police in Adams County, Weld County, or in places like Morgan County on the eastern plains, will always assume people they arrest are guilty. They will also advertise information to the public making assumptions of guilt based on their own biased opinions. Fortunately, we live in a country with a Constitution which keeps the government from making victims of citizens.
We are here to make sure the government and those in law enforcement do not make you into a trophy or bragging right for their next promotion. So if you have been accused of Internet Sexual Exploitation of a Child in Denver, Pitkin or Eagle County, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.