- Practice Areas
Internet luring of a child means communicating with a child about explicit sexual behavior to get the child to meet you for any reason. To prove internet luring of a child, a prosecutor is required to prove:
C.R.S. 18-6-403(2)(e) defines explicit sexual conduct as any act of sexual intrusion, sexual intercourse, erotic nudity, erotic fondling, masturbation, sexual excitement, or sadomasochism. This language is designed to cover a broad range of sexual conduct ensuring that even the most vague and generic description of sexual acts meets the definition of explicit sexual conduct.
The term in connection with means any communication that furthers, promotes, advances, or has a continuity of purpose with the message related to explicit sexual conduct. The communication can occur during, before, or after the invitation to meet is made to the child.
Example 1: A 24-year-old man goes on Facebook and finds a profile for a middle school girl. He sends her a friend request and begins messaging her. In those messages, he talks about wanting to have oral sex with her and invites her to meet him at a Burger King close to where the girl lives. Once he arrives at the Burger King, he is met by a police officer who places him under arrest and tells him that the girl he spoke with was an undercover agent.
Example 2: A 26-year-old man volunteers as a softball coach at a local high school. As part of his coaching duties, he is provided with the cell phone numbers of all the girls on the team. Part of his job requires him to give specialized coaching to some of the girls. He messages one of them to set up a time to meet up and work on her pitching. After he texts her, the girl starts messaging him that she has a crush on him and send him provocative pictures. Rather than report her behavior, he responds with similar texts and tells her he wants to hook up with her. The girl’s parents find the text messages on her phone and report the coach to the police.
If you lure a child to another location for any purpose other than to sexually exploit them, you commit a class 5 felony and could receive sentence to prison of between 1-3 years or be sentenced to probation.
If you lure a child to another location for the purpose of sexually exploiting them, you commit a class 4 felony and can be punished with an indeterminate prison sentence of between 2-6 years, up to the rest of your life. You could also be sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of probation.
Colorado Revise Statute 18-3-206 is a very complicated statute with a lot of elements and potential defenses. Because of the complexity of these types of cases, the defenses to these charges vary with every case. Some common defenses to internet luring of a child may include:
Freedom of speech in not a defense to the crime of internet luring of a child. In 2011, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled that the internet luring statute does not suppress speech in a way that is unconstitutional. People v. Boles, 280 P.3d 55 (Colo. App. 2011). Additionally, the appellate court stated that people of normal intelligence would be able to determine what speech the statute prohibited and ruled that it was not unconstitutionally vague or overbroad.
The facts of the Boles case were that a defendant went into an internet chat room and initiated a conversation with an undercover detective who was posing as a fourteen-year-old girl. Over the course of their chats, the defendant sent the detective a sexual joke with a pornographic picture attached to it. In later conversations the defendant asked the detective if she would meet him at his house. Before his trial, the defendant challenged whether he could be charged and argued that the statute was overbroad and limited his constitutionally protected speech. The Court of appeals denied his constitutional challenge and held that C.R.S. 18-3-306 encompasses constitutionally protected speech because the prohibited speech is specifically tied to explicit sexual conduct and is designed to promote the legitimate purpose of protecting children from sexual predators.