The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force has scored yet another arrest. The OSBI arrested Michael Dean Osburn, 42, of Edmond, after investigators say he tried to solicit sex from an undercover agent he believed to be a 15-year-old boy.
Charges in the Case
Osburn was arrested complaints of online solicitation of a minor and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act after he traveled to from Edmond to Guthrie, allegedly to meet the "teen" for sex. He was booked into the Logan County Jail.
The OSBI says Osburn's arrest was the culmination of a two-month investigation by ICAC task force agents. The United States Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) established the national Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force in 1998, and all 50 states currently participate.
Oklahoma Solicitation Law
In Oklahoma, the OSBI is the lead agency of the ICAC, with at least 51 other state and local agencies participating, including sheriffs' offices, municipal police departments, and district attorneys' offices. In addition to the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, the federal government has passed multiple acts of legislation to preserve the safety of children online and to protect them from sexual predators:
- Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998
- Child Sex Crimes Wiretapping Act of 1999
- Cybermolesters Enforcement Act of 2000
- Internet Crimes Against Children Prevention Act of 2000
It is important for anyone chatting online, communicating via social networks such as Facebook, or responding to online classifieds such as those on Craigslist or Backpage to be mindful of the subject matter of their conversations and to be aware that the cloak of anonymity the internet provides is more of a veil, an illusion of anonymity.
Users may not really know who they are talking to at all, and any information, images, or messages sent and received may be preserved and retrieved by law enforcement agents. Soliciting minors online is a serious felony sex crime.
Legal Ramifications and Defense Strategies
Although a defendant may feel that he or she did nothing wrong, the argument that "it was just talk," or "I didn't really intend to follow through," hold little weight before a judge and jury. Solicitation of sexual conduct of a minor with the use of technology does not require physical contact for prosecution or conviction, nor does the "victim" have to actually be a minor, as is evidenced by the use of undercover agents as decoys in ICAC investigations. Online solicitation of a minor is punishable by up to 20 years in prison, and conviction is followed by lifetime registration as a Level 3 sex offender. If you've been charged it's imperative that you immediately speak with a criminal defense attorney experienced in these types of crimes.
Visit our Law Blog to read more about internet sex offenses and other sex crimes against children.