There are many different acts that fall under the umbrella term of Internet sex crimes, such as soliciting someone —sometimes a minor — for sexual purposes, conspiracy to work with others in committing such crimes and the production of illegal child pornography.
However, the most common online sex crime that is committed, according to experts, is the distribution or possession of child pornography.
Experts warn that it's a bit hard to figure out how often these crimes are committed, as online crimes are not as easy to track and pin down as crimes like theft or drunk driving. Additionally, there are systems to help compile numbers and statistics for other types of crime, but no such system has yet been created specifically for these crimes.
Research has shown that arrests for these crimes have been rising. One major source is the National Juvenile Online Victimization Study, which was conducted back in 2000 and again as recently as 2009. That study showed that in those years — from 2000 to 2009 — the number of arrests for Internet sex crimes all over the United States actually tripled.
The study also showed that courts are cracking down on those who are convicted. The average sentences for child pornography in more recent years are longer than those that used to be handed down, and this trend continues.
If it stays that way, those arrested in coming years could face even longer average sentences yet, both in North Carolina and across the country. Therefore, it is very important for those accused to know about all of their legal options after being arrested.
Source: Smart.gov, "Chapter 4: Internet-Facilitated Sexual Offending," Michael Seto, accessed Oct. 23, 2015