Online impersonation to lure potential suspects is one of the oldest tricks in the book, as many New Jersey criminal defense lawyers are aware. Most recently, a New Jersey man was arrested after chatting with a teenager on Facebook. The man, Kevin Wild, was arrested for engaging in what authorities believe was a sexually explicit conversation with the boy.
The Passaic County Sheriff's Office began an investigation into Wild after the boy's parents informed officers that their child had been engaging in inappropriate conversations with an unknown man on Facebook. The investigation lasted five months. Over this time, one of the investigators posed as a boy and engaged in inappropriate conversations with Wild.
Officers arrested Wild and charged him with endangering the welfare of a child. Wild has been convicted of sex offenses in the past, and as part of his previous convictions, has registered in a sex offender registry.
The arrest coincides with increasing efforts by persons convicted of sex crimes to gain access to social media websites. One of the many restrictions that are placed on convicted sex offenders is a ban on access to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. In several states, persons who have been convicted of these crimes are fighting back against such bans. In Indiana, a judge will soon rule on the constitutionality of a law that prohibits persons who have been registered in a sex offender registry from having access to social media sites. That lawsuit is headed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.
In February, persons convicted of sex crimes in Louisiana received good news – a judge ruled that prohibitions banning persons convicted of sex crimes from using social media websites were too broad. The judge held that the law unreasonably restricted these persons from performing any ordinary activities that are essential to everyday life. In other states, too, civil rights groups and convicted offenders have mounted similar challenges to laws that impose social networking bans.
Any New Jersey criminal defense attorney knows that a person convicted of a sex crime has a long and difficult struggle ahead. Even upon release from prison, sex offenders are required to register in a federal sex offender registry that may be accessible to the public. Under the law, offenders must report to local police regularly and inform law enforcement when they move or take a new job.
The New Jersey criminal defense attorneys at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons who have been charged with sex crimes across New Jersey.