Examining the Complexities with Prosecuting Online Predators
Many people say things anonymously online they would never say to someone else in person. For the most part, the law protects this kind of “speech.” Generally, the First Amendment guarantees free speech unless that speech hurts someone else. This freedom, along with the fact that online posters and chatters are anonymous, makes online sexual predator cases very complex.
Criminal prosecutors often do not vigorously pursue online-predator cases because the investigations are so time-consuming, and the possibilities of a conviction are relatively low. The burden of proof in criminal court is beyond any reasonable doubt.
However, an experienced and diligent sexual abuse survivor lawyer can step in to protect the survivor’s rights. The burden of proof in civil court is only a preponderance of the evidence or more likely than not. The lower burden of proof makes it easier to obtain compensation and justice in civil court.
If you or a loved one was sexually abused by an online predator as a minor, you are entitled to compensation and justice if you are ready to come forward. Call the compassionate sexual abuse survivor lawyers at The Yost Legal Group today for a free and confidential consultation: 1-800-YOST-LAW.
Inflammatory statements about a person’s sexual past or preferences may be the most common libelous online posts. In fact, earlier this week, we published a blog post about how courts recently redefined online sexual abuse and harassment by expanding the qualifications.
Then there is the so-called “revenge porn,” which is usually posting explicit photos of another person without that person’s consent, which comes in as a close second for common types of libelous online content.
Though technology exists to unveil online certain aspects of online anonymity (e.g., investigators can trace IP addresses and identify the device that the predator used to post), in criminal court, the originating device alone might not be sufficient evidence. That is especially true if the device was not password protected and several individuals had access to it.
Things are different in civil court. If a sexual abuse survivor lawyer traces a post or picture to a device belonging to someone in John Doe’s home or office, it is more likely than not that that person hit “send,” even if he was not the primary user.
Criminal prosecutors usually are not interested in such cases unless several people got hurt, the poster made widespread threats, or there was further evidence to identify the abuser. But a sexual abuse survivor attorney works for compensation and justice for the abused individual, whether the case is large or small.
Assume John Doe posted comments threatening to physically harm Sara if she dated another man. Usually, in criminal court, Richard must commit an overtly physical act, like intercepting Sara on her way home, for charges to hold up in court. But in civil court, a sexual abuse survivor lawyer could use the intentional infliction of emotional distress doctrine to obtain compensation based solely on Richard’s posts.
Compensation is available if an attorney connects John Doe to the threatening post. Also, as mentioned, that is easier to do in civil court than in criminal court.
However, most online predator civil cases settle out of court. These settlements avoid emotional confrontations, which in many cases, is exactly what the online predator wanted. These resolutions also give survivors more control over the outcome. Many survivors need to feel empowered as opposed to victimized.
Compensation and Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors
A survivor of sexual abuse and harassment is never at fault. If you or a loved one is a survivor of online sexual abuse and harassment, your opportunity for justice is just a phone call away. The compassionate and experienced sexual abuse survivor attorneys at The Yost Legal Group are ready to listen and ready to fight for you. If you are ready to talk, we are ready to help. Call today: 1-800-967-8529.