6.12.2011

Oops!!! Was That Young Lady Under 18 Years Of Age? Will Ignorance Be A Defense For Congressman Anthony Weiner?



By Lawrence W. Daly

The reality of social media is unless the two parties engaged in the communication share their dates of births, birth certificates, state driver’s license or any other identification, which demonstrates how old they are, one or both parties could potentially commit a crime, if the communication involves sexual themes. Moreover, when sending a still photograph and/or using a computer camera that contains partial nudity or full nudity, a crime may have just been committed.
             Yesterday, the news that Congressman Anthony Weiner had communicated with a Delaware 17 year old female, a junior in high school, opens Pandora’s box for the Congressman. As predicted, this allegation is possibly unraveling the Congressman’s career. Today, maybe tomorrow, it is possible that other young adults, under the age of 18 years old, will step forward and tell all about her relationship with the Congressman.
Today, the Congressman said he would seek sexual addiction treatment. He asked for the time off from Congress, so he can “…become a better husband and healthier”, according to Fox News.com.

The Ignorance Defense
            To conjecture whether the Congressman committed a crime or not, will eventually determine how the Congressman will defend himself against any and all potential criminal charges. The Congressman’s involvement, what role he played and how far the sexual innuendos and sex play went will not be known for some time. In the meantime, the Congressman may begin building a defense. Like those who say they didn’t know it was a crime to act out in a specific way, is not a valid, reasonable and/or logical defense. Will the Congressman use the ignorance defense? Will the Congressman tell law enforcement authorities that he didn’t know that his sexual actions were criminal in nature; that the women and young females consented to the exchange of photographs and sexual statements? Whatever the Congressman comes up with, it will be interesting. In the field of sexual deviance, the sexual offender always tries to minimize their role in the conduct which is criminal in nature. First, there is a denial (which the Congressman already did), then seeking help and treatment (which the Congressman disclosed today), and then there is the return to politics, where they are happier, healthier and fixed.

Is Ignorance a Defense for the Congressman?

            One has to critically assess what position the Congressman has gotten himself in to clearly understand his predicament. There is physical evidence that the Congressman posed nude, with an erection for one of his ladies he was having an Internet relationship with. The woman was 26 years old, so the crime choice is limited, if there was any crime committed at all.
            The police are currently investigating to determine if any crime was committed with the Delaware teenager. The question then should be, did the Congressman actually commit a crime, and if he did, what crime would that be; and what would his defense be? Let us examine, evaluate and analyze what crimes he may have violated. The following information was taken from Laws.com.

1.                  Cyber-Bullying Laws exist within the legal parameters of Cyber Law, which is also known as ‘Computer Law’ or ‘Internet Law’.
2.                  Cyber-Bullying is defined as a criminal act in which individuals are targeted and victimized by a wide range of malicious, damaging, and demeaning activity undertaken through the usage of the Internet and online networks.
3.                  The field of Cyber Law is identified as the legal jurisdiction responsible for the prosecution of Cyber-Bullying charges facilitated through the usage of electronic networks and technologically-based communication systems relying on the Internet as a means of utility. Cyber-Bullying Laws ensure that individuals undertaking the use of the Internet do so only in conjunction with legal, ethical, and moral means.
4.                  Due to the vast expanse of bullying currently taking place, both within physical sectors, as well as within virtual sectors, Cyber-Bullying Laws enacted in order to preserve and protect the rights of the victims affected by Cyber-Bullying are subject to variation.
5.                  As recent as February of 2011, upwards of 35 States within the United States of America have enacted Bullying Laws. Although these laws are not expressly set forth with regard to jurisdiction of bullying taking place within the digital, virtual sector, many Cyber-Bullying offenses are addressed within their respective statutes.
6.                  As of February of 2011, upwards of 15 States have enacted Cyber-Bullying Laws, which only include statutory legislation with regard to bullying taking place through both the usage of online networks and the Internet.
7.                  The ‘Megan Meier Cyber-Bullying Prevention Act’ was passed by Congress in April of 2009, making it the first Federal Cyber-Bullying Law passed in the United States of America. The Bill was passed as a result of Megan Meier’s suicide in 2006.
8.                  Individuals, who have been the victims of Cyber-Bullying, as well as those who have been made aware of events of Cyber-Bullying, are encouraged to contact the National Crime Prevention Council through their telephone number: (202) 466-6272. In the event that an individual wishes not to be named, reports of Cyber-Bullying can be conducted anonymously.
The law enforcement officials appear to have several options available to them, if they believe the Congressman has committed a crime.
Cyber-Stalking
Did Congressman Weiner violate any of the Cyber-Stalking laws? This question needs to be answered. Holding the Congressman accountable and responsible is a must, no matter who he is and/or what job he holds. He doesn’t deserve a free pass because he serves the United States of America as a Congressman. In fact, in following the principles of the sex crimes laws which have been established over the past three decades, individuals who are in a position of authority need to be held more accountable than the average Joe citizen. Individuals who have titles and are in a position of authority should know better than to act out sexually with either another woman, who is not his wife, and/or with a minor. Cyber-Stalking is defined as criminal activity which is interpersonal in nature, can be of two or more individuals. It can be invasive, intrusive, and inappropriate behavior taking place through the use of online networks and computer systems that are conducted in a clandestine fashion. According to Law.com:
Obsessive Cyber-Stalking: typically retains sociopathic tendencies with regard to its enactment, which include the perpetrator engaging with the victim in an unsolicited, unrequested, and intrusive manner. This can occur through the undertaking on online-based observation, witness, or recording of activities involving the victim…Sexual Cyber-Stalking occurring in both non-consensual and sexual fashions resulting in the invasion of another individual’s privacy, in addition to the encroachment on the private, virtual space belonging to another individual, may be classified as sexual in nature. This can also include Cyber-Stalking resembling sexual harassment, classified as the unwelcomed, lewd, and illicit sexual advances undertaken in a clandestine manner.
The Investigation by law enforcement is just beginning and until potential victims and witnesses are interviewed, there is no way of knowing how culpable the Congressman was in these Cyberspace Sexual Voyeurism Acts on the Internet. Until then, those who are following the stories behind the Congressman will have to be patient and understanding that some investigations just take time.
            Law enforcement has a major responsibility at this time in their fact-finding mission. There is no doubt the investigators conducting the interviews and the gathering of evidence will need to be careful. Every step they take will be analyzed not only by their superiors and their social professional network, but also by the defense team that the Congressman has put together to deal with the laws, the backgrounds on all of the women and young females and specifically what credibility does everyone bring to the table. At this point, the Congressman, in this author’s investigative eyes, has no credibility and trying to resurrect his reputation by seeking treatment should be seen as a method that has been utilized by others who found themselves in the same situation. 

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