The Code of Alabama § 13A-6-124 makes it a Class A felony to travel to meet a child for the purpose of engaging in a sex act. This means the punishment for such an offense is the same as Murder – up to life in prison. In addition, unlike Murder, those convicted under this statute are considered criminal sex offenders, meaning if they ever get out of prison, they must register as a sex offender for life.
The proliferation of the internet has led to a large spike in arrests for travelling to meet a child. These arrests are typically the result of undercover sting operations where officers pose as a child to attract potential offenders. The typical case begins with law enforcement posting a fake ad on the internet hinting (but not right out saying) that the poster is looking for sex. Usually the ads do not begin by saying the poster is underage – that comes later.
The typical Defendant, usually a white male, is online looking for a casual relationship. There are some that are looking for sex with a child, but our experience is that they begin by looking for an adult interested in consensual sex.
The communication between the Defendant and the poster (who is really a cop) usually begins with flirting. As the conversation progresses, and the flirting intensifies into explicit talk, law enforcement then suggests they are under age. Most of those we have represented on these cases ask for a photo, and are sent a photo by law enforcement, often looking like a female who could be 18 years or older. This is when a rendezvous is scheduled which ultimately leads to the arrest of the defendant.
The charge itself is technically called “Traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.” In other words, in order to convict someone of this charge, the state must prove that the person “travelled” some distance with the specific intent of engaging in a sex act with a child. In defending these cases, we have to analyze:
- Was the defendant entrapped by law enforcement?
- Was it actually our client that was talking to the “child”?
- What was the defendant’s true intent?
- Was the defendant really intending to have sex with a minor?
- Did the defendant actually travel anywhere?
If you have been charged with traveling to meet a child for sex, or electronic solicitation of a child and feel you are “not guilty”, call the Dothan attorneys at Boles Holmes White to represent you today. Call 334-366-6086, or email us and let us put our experience to work for you.