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North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorneys

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Cary Coach Caught In Online Chat Room For Minors

After a perfect season at the helm of the Green Hope women's soccer team that culminated in a state championship, former coach Robert Peterson is facing another battle, this time criminal. He was charged with third degree sexual exploitation of a minor after being caught in an internet sex crimes sting run by local law enforcement.

According to police reports, Peterson was connected to an internet chat room that caters to those looking for child pornography. Peterson was arrested at his home around 2 am on Saturday night after investigators traced the computer's ip address to his address in Cary. The investigator claims Peterson identified himself as a 43-year-old man during the course of their chat, allowing officers to narrow down who among the three adults living in the home, was the culprit.

The now-suspended soccer coach is facing six counts of sex crimes involving children. If convicted on all six counts, he could be sentenced to close to 20 years in prison as well as ordered to register as a sex offender. Police accused Peterson of looking at video and pictures of young girls between 12 and 16 engaged in sexual activity.

Both state and federal law enforcement frequently use internet chat room stings to catch would-be sex offenders. Often the officers will pose as teen children and engage in conversations with an unsuspecting adult. Officers may also portray themselves online as someone who has child pornography to share with another user, whether for free or for payment.

The tipping point is usually the exchange or receipt of sexually explicit photos or making plans to meet up offline. That is when police will typically track the IP address of the computer and investigate whether an internet sex crime has occurred.

Source: WRAL, "Warrant: Cary police catch soccer coach in underage sex chat room," July 14, 2013

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