Investigating Internet-Related Sex Crimes With Juvenile Victims: Law Enforcement Dilemmas

Melissa Wells, University of New Hampshire

ABSTRACT
Internet-related sex crimes against minors may cause problems for law enforcement agencies that are different from the problems encountered in sex crimes that do not involve the Internet. This paper focuses on three types of law enforcement dilemmas in Internet-related sex crimes: 1) legal factors such as gaps in statutues, 2) availability of resources such as the capacity to do computer forensic examinations and 3) issues of social structure. The paper uses qualitative and quantitative data that was collected from investigators in 68 cases where Internet-related sex crimes against minors were reported, but no arrests were made. This research is a component of the Juvenile Online Victimization Incidence Study, funded by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the U. S. Department of Justice, OJJDP.

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Updated 05/20/2006