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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - March 6, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

Instructions: Postings are listed for browsing with the newest messages first. Click on the linked ID number to see a message. You can search the author, subject, message ID, and message content fields by entering your criteria into this search box:

Message ID: 9458
Date: 2013-11-01

Author:Aaron Robb, M.Ed., NCC, LPC-S

Subject:Re: laws against online grooming?

A recent lesson in what not to do in regards to the wording of these types of statutes: http://www.volokh.com/2013/10/30/texas-court-strikes-ban-communications-minors-relate-describe-sexual-conduct-made-intent-sexually-arouse/ The TL:DR, there's a fine line between criminalizing solicitation (which is what the Virginia law really targets) and criminalizing free speech. Even in criminalizing solicitation is tricky legal drafting. Grooming is often much more subtle than an overt solicitation, and thus you're going to run into multiple constitutional issues, on top of the false-positive issue that Edward Opton noted. -- Aaron Robb, M.Ed., NCC, LPC-S Forensic Counseling Services http://www.texascounseling.org Mailing Address: 2831 Eldorado Pkwy., Ste. 103-377, Frisco, TX 75033 Phone: 972-360-7437; Fax: 940-343-2601 “To have a child is to embrace a future you can't control." - Tom French, Radio Lab, April 30, 2013 This e-mail and any attachments contain information from the office of Aaron Robb, LPC-S and are intended solely for the use of the named recipients. Any dissemination of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you believe you have received this e-mail in error, notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the e-mail, any attachments, and all copies thereof from any drives or storage media and destroy any printouts of the e-mails or attachments. ________________________________ From: Camille Cooper To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:49 PM Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? I don't think you can make grooming illegal per se. It would have to result in criminal sexual conduct. We went round and round and the only way we could do it in Virginia was to make it an additional charge that could be added to other charges involving enticement, cp or csa as "an intentional act in the commission of..." type scenario. On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM, Edward Opton > wrote: Joan Crowley is right. An “anti-befriending” law would catch very, very few criminals because proof would be exceedingly difficult, but it would entrap many innocent adults whose lives would be ruined by the expense of defending themselves. From: bounce-109816890-12782768@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-109816890-12782768@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Joan Crowley Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:23 AM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? I am concerned about these laws prohibiting genuine friending behavior. You are specifying that you want to criminalize befriending for "the purpose of lowering the child's inhibitions", but how do you measure that purpose? What if Uncle Joe really wants to help a niece he sees as isolated and depressed? How do you separate those messages from Uncle James who is sexually interested in that niece? The messages of support could be taken in this context as being grooming, whether it is or not. Worse, someone who is a potential positive mentor for a child could be inhibited from providing support for fear of being charged. My husband was a high school teacher, and he could not pat a kid on the back because it might have been misinterpreted. He was also leery of being alone in a room with a female student, lest he be accused of sexual misconduct. In protecting kids from sexual abuse, are we cutting them off from reaching out to trusted adults? If you want to protect kids from unhealthy sexual experiences, I think it is safer and more effective to focus on behavior with actual sexual content. Joan Crowley On Oct 29, 2013, at 10:18 AM, Tom Hanna wrote: I appreciate seeing the Virginia law on grooming. Note that the Virginia law pertains to depictions of sexual acts being transmitted to children. It makes no mention of the specific phenomenon of online grooming, but online transmission would be covered under this law. As a working definition, Child grooming comprises actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child for the purpose of lowering the child's inhibitions and preparing the child for sexual assault or exploitation. This is the online behavior that is so concerning. Given what grooming actually is as a human behavior, the framing of such a law might be quite a challenge. I look forward to examples of state laws that directly address online grooming. -- Tom Hanna 607-275-9360 (w) 607-227-4524 (c) ________________________________ From: bounce-109811950-6831996@list.cornell.edu [bounce-109811950-6831996@list.cornell.edu ] on behalf of Camille Cooper [camillecooper@protect.org ] Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:52 AM To: CHILD-MALTREATMENT-RESEARCH-L Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? Lisa, We helped pass an online grooming law in Virginia in 2012. Here is the code section: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?121+ful+CHAP0624 Camille Cooper PROTECT 828-318-6382 On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 5:04 AM, Lisa Fontes > wrote: Dear Colleagues, Argentina and Chile are both considering laws regarding online grooming (for sexual abuse) as offenses separate from sexual abuse. For my colleagues in those countries, I would be grateful for any information about--links for, text of--similar laws in other countries including the United States. My colleagues and I would also be interested in your opinions of the efficacy of these laws. Feel free to respond off=list to me at LFontes@ rcn.com . responses in ENglish, Spanish or Portuguese are all fine. Thank you! Lisa Fontes, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, amherst. -- Camille Cooper Director Legislative Affairs PROTECT www.protect.org 828-318-6382 http://about.me/camillecooper -- Camille Cooper Director Legislative Affairs PROTECT www.protect.org 828-318-6382 http://about.me/camillecooper

A recent lesson in what not to do in regards to the wording of these types of statutes: http://www.volokh.com/2013/10/30/texas-court-strikes-ban-communications-minors-relate-describe-sexual-conduct-made-intent-sexually-arouse/ The TL:DR, there's a fine line between criminalizing solicitation (which is what the Virginia law really targets) and criminalizing free speech. Even in criminalizing solicitation is tricky legal drafting. Grooming is often much more subtle than an overt solicitation, and thus you're going to run into multiple constitutional issues, on top of the false-positive issue that Edward Opton noted. -- Aaron Robb, M.Ed., NCC, LPC-S Forensic Counseling Services http://www.texascounseling.org Mailing Address: 2831 Eldorado Pkwy., Ste. 103-377, Frisco, TX 75033 Phone: 972-360-7437; Fax: 940-343-2601 “To have a child is to embrace a future you can't control." - Tom French, Radio Lab, April 30, 2013 This e-mail and any attachments contain information from the office of Aaron Robb, LPC-S and are intended solely for the use of the named recipients. Any dissemination of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. If you believe you have received this e-mail in error, notify the sender immediately and permanently delete the e-mail, any attachments, and all copies thereof from any drives or storage media and destroy any printouts of the e-mails or attachments. ________________________________ From: Camille Cooper To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 1:49 PM Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? I don't think you can make grooming illegal per se. It would have to result in criminal sexual conduct. We went round and round and the only way we could do it in Virginia was to make it an additional charge that could be added to other charges involving enticement, cp or csa as "an intentional act in the commission of..." type scenario. On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 2:39 PM, Edward Opton > wrote: Joan Crowley is right. An “anti-befriending” law would catch very, very few criminals because proof would be exceedingly difficult, but it would entrap many innocent adults whose lives would be ruined by the expense of defending themselves. From: bounce-109816890-12782768list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-109816890-12782768list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Joan Crowley Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 11:23 AM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? I am concerned about these laws prohibiting genuine friending behavior. You are specifying that you want to criminalize befriending for "the purpose of lowering the child's inhibitions", but how do you measure that purpose? What if Uncle Joe really wants to help a niece he sees as isolated and depressed? How do you separate those messages from Uncle James who is sexually interested in that niece? The messages of support could be taken in this context as being grooming, whether it is or not. Worse, someone who is a potential positive mentor for a child could be inhibited from providing support for fear of being charged. My husband was a high school teacher, and he could not pat a kid on the back because it might have been misinterpreted. He was also leery of being alone in a room with a female student, lest he be accused of sexual misconduct. In protecting kids from sexual abuse, are we cutting them off from reaching out to trusted adults? If you want to protect kids from unhealthy sexual experiences, I think it is safer and more effective to focus on behavior with actual sexual content. Joan Crowley On Oct 29, 2013, at 10:18 AM, Tom Hanna wrote: I appreciate seeing the Virginia law on grooming. Note that the Virginia law pertains to depictions of sexual acts being transmitted to children. It makes no mention of the specific phenomenon of online grooming, but online transmission would be covered under this law. As a working definition, Child grooming comprises actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child for the purpose of lowering the child's inhibitions and preparing the child for sexual assault or exploitation. This is the online behavior that is so concerning. Given what grooming actually is as a human behavior, the framing of such a law might be quite a challenge. I look forward to examples of state laws that directly address online grooming. -- Tom Hanna 607-275-9360 (w) 607-227-4524 (c) ________________________________ From: bounce-109811950-6831996list.cornell.edu [bounce-109811950-6831996list.cornell.edu ] on behalf of Camille Cooper [camillecooperprotect.org ] Sent: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 10:52 AM To: CHILD-MALTREATMENT-RESEARCH-L Subject: Re: laws against online grooming? Lisa, We helped pass an online grooming law in Virginia in 2012. Here is the code section: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?121+ful+CHAP0624 Camille Cooper PROTECT 828-318-6382 On Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 5:04 AM, Lisa Fontes > wrote: Dear Colleagues, Argentina and Chile are both considering laws regarding online grooming (for sexual abuse) as offenses separate from sexual abuse. For my colleagues in those countries, I would be grateful for any information about--links for, text of--similar laws in other countries including the United States. My colleagues and I would also be interested in your opinions of the efficacy of these laws. Feel free to respond off=list to me at LFontes rcn.com . responses in ENglish, Spanish or Portuguese are all fine. Thank you! Lisa Fontes, Ph.D. University of Massachusetts, amherst. -- Camille Cooper Director Legislative Affairs PROTECT www.protect.org 828-318-6382 http://about.me/camillecooper -- Camille Cooper Director Legislative Affairs PROTECT www.protect.org 828-318-6382 http://about.me/camillecooper