The Canadian County Sheriff's Office arrested an Oklahoma City man they say used Facebook to try to arrange sex with a 14-year-old girl. Kelton Miller, 24, is accused of sending sexually explicit messages to a Sheriff's deputy who was posing as a young teen on Facebook as part of an internet sex sting. Investigators say Miller sent images of his exposed genitals, messages detailing the sex he would like to have with the girl, and made arrangements to meet the teen for sex. Once the arrangements were made, the Canadian County Sheriff's Department made an arrest on complaints of online solicitation of a minor, lewd acts with a child under 16, marijuana possession, and possession of drug paraphernalia. In some states, people caught in internet "child predator" sex stings have attempted to challenge their charges, saying that they did not solicit a minor if the person with whom they were chatting online was actually an adult decoy. In most cases, these challenges have failed. In Oklahoma, the law is written in such a way as to invalidate this defense automatically. Title 21 Section 1040.13a is the Oklahoma law against Soliciting Sexual Conduct or Communication with a Minor by Use of Technology, commonly referred to as online solicitation of a minor. Under this law, it is a felony to "facilitate, encourage, offer or solicit sexual conduct with a minor, or other individual the person believes to be a minor." Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force agents create false online profiles purporting to be minors. If an adult aged 18 or older begins to engage with someone he or she "believes to be a minor" from one of these fake profiles, he or she is arrested for soliciting a minor or lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a minor, even if there is no actual minor involved. We have written before about how easy it becomes for an otherwise law-abiding person to become caught in an online sting if the undercover agents use manipulative tactics--and, indeed, they do. In fact, some say that the strategies used in undercover "To Catch a Predator" type stings do not catch sex offenders, they create them. Soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology is a felony sex offense that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, even if no physical sexual contact occurs and even if there is no actual minor involved. It is a Level 2 sex offense, meaning that conviction requires a person to register as an Oklahoma Sex Offender every six months for 25 years. Lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a child under 16, on the other hand, is a Level 3 sex offense that mandates lifetime sex offender registration.
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