Our client was a 21-year-old who met a girl online using a social networking app called Skout. They chatted at first and then traded naked pictures. At that time, Skout was divided into two sections—one for adults who are 18 and older, and a section for teens between the ages of 13-17. Our client began to chat with a girl who was clearly in the adult section of the app and was representing herself as being 25 years old. As soon as she sent photos to our client, he realized that she was a minor. He then ceased all contact with her.
When the girl’s parents discovered that she sent these pictures to our client, they contacted the police. The police then executed a search warrant at our client’s house and seized his phone and computers. On his phone were several other conversations that our client had with underage girls that he met using the app. These girls sent naked pictures to our client as well.
As we started researching Skout, we learned that the makers of the app had acknowledged that there was a growing problem with minors using the adult-only section. This was a clear concern for us as it made it very difficult for innocent users of the app to know whether the people they were communicating with were actually minors.
We sent our client for a polygraph to prove that he never intentionally went online to solicit or communicate with minors. We also had him undergo a psychosexual evaluation to prove that he did not have a sexual interest in children. We were also able to show that our client had an impeccable background, no criminal history, and spent a great deal of his time doing volunteer work with numerous charitable organizations in the community.
We then presented this evidence to the detective as well as to the district attorney’s office. After several months of discussions about the case, we persuaded them to dismiss the case against our client. As a result, we were able to keep our client from ever getting arrested.