Friday, November 26, 2010

PC World

United States v. Douglas, No. 09-4955-cr (2d Cir. November 23, 2010) (Miner, Katzmann, Hall, CJJ) (per curiam)

Defendant Douglas was trolling a fetish Internet chatroom, and struck up an acquaintanceship with a Vermont police officer posing as “Liz,” a thirty-eight-year-old divorced nurse with a thirteen-year-old daughter, “Anna.” Douglas tried to persuade Liz to bring Anna to him in Alabama so that he could “train” her to be a “sex slave.” There was a lot of back-and-forth, which included Douglas’ offering to help pay for the trip and find Liz a job near where he lived.

Douglas was convicted, after a jury trial, of violating 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) by using an interstate facility to entice a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. On appeal, he argued that the statute did not apply to him because he communicated only with a person he believed to be an adult. The circuit rejected this argument and affirmed.

The court noted that the statute prohibits the attempt to entice or the intent to entice, and not an intent to perform a sexual act following the persuasion. And the enticement efforts need not be “directed to a minor in all cases” in order for the enticement to occur. Persuading a minor’s adult guardian to lead the child to participate in sexual activity also violates § 2422(b).

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