Law enforcement agencies have learned that the most effective use of their investigative resources is to focus on the locations where the crimes are being committed.The Internet is the newest location where adults who are intent on exploiting children can easily find victims to prey upon.
Chat rooms have become a popular Internet location for the exchange of information, online gaming and social contact among other things.
A person seeking a solution to a home repair problem might go to one of the many chat rooms scattered throughout the cyber world to pose the problem to other online users in the hope of getting a solution.
Law enforcement agencies know that chat rooms have become more than merely cyber meeting places for social interaction or to find out how to repair a faucet.
Cybersex has become a popular activity in many chat rooms.
When all of the participants are adults, the use of a chat room to exchange sexually explicit messages or to arrange meetings is usually not illegal, but problems arise when one of the chat room participants is a minor.
A minor under the Texas Penal Code is anyone under 17 years of age.
When an adult enters an online chat room to communicate in a sexually explicit manner with a minor, it might not be a criminal offense.
The law requires that the communication by the adult must be done intentionally and for purposes of sexual arousal or gratification.
It must also be done under the belief that the person to whom the communication is being made is a minor.
It is also a crime under state law for an adult to communicate with and solicit a minor in to meet with the intent of engaging in any of the following activities: The federal law pertaining to cybersex with a minor uses terms such as “enticing,” “inducing” and persuading to define the prohibited conduct.
It should also be noted that the federal statute defines a minor as someone who is younger than 18 years of age.