The crime of enticement is a sexual crime, and one that is most often committed against children. As a result, this is a very serious offense with heavy penalties. Each state, however, has very different rules and regulations in terms of defining what constitutes enticement. Similarly, their penalties and their statutes of limitations vary greatly depending on the type of enticement, the methods use, and the characteristics of the perpetrator.
Enticement is covered under 18 U.S. Code paragraph 2422 – Coercion and enticement. This is broadly divided into two areas of crime:
- People who knowingly coerce, entice, induce, or persuade anyone else to travel in foreign or interstate commerce, or in any Possession or Territory of the country, or attempts to do so, to engage in any sexual activity, including prostitution, for which they can be charged, may face enticement charges.
- Those who use, or attempt to use, a means of foreign or interstate commerce, including mail, to coerce, entice, or induce an individual of less than 18 years of age with the purpose of engaging in sexual activity or prostitution, may face enticement charges.
Enticement Crimes & Charges
In almost all cases, enticement is a crime that involves children. Unfortunately, child enticement laws are very old, and are in desperate need of updating, not in the least to reflect the rise of internet and internet pornography. At present, the following crimes are recognized:
- Child enticement
- Computer generated images and child enticement
- Child abuse
- Child endangerment
People commit enticement if they invite or persuade, or attempt to convince, a child to enter a secluded place, room, building or vehicle, while intending to commit unlawful sexual contact or sexual assault on the child. Children do not have to have perceived the intent of enticement for someone to be convicted.
Those who are convicted of enticing someone over the age of 18, will face a fine and/or a prison sentence of no more than 20 years. If the enticement involves a minor, they will face a fine as well as a prison sentence ranging from 10 years to life. In most cases, enticement is classed as a felony offence. Exact punishment varies depending on a number of factors, including whether there have been previous sexual offences and whether the victim sustained bodily injury as a result of the enticement.
Enticement Sentencing Guidelines
Sentencing guidelines for enticement vary from one state to another. However, in many cases, enticement is trialed in federal court. Within this, a number of factors will be taken into consideration as a standard. These include:
- The nature and substance of communications between perpetrator and victim
- The nature of the communication and the plan that formed following communications
- Characteristics of the defendant, including their background, history, prior criminal history, and education
- Past sentences in prior, similar cases
- The possible deterrent effects of the sentence, including whether the defendant will require education, treatment, or other such resources as well
- There are a number of aggravating factors in these types of cases as well. These include:
- The use of computer, although this is becoming redundant because virtually all communication is now done through the use of computer
- The age of the minor, even if the minor is fictitious due to it being an undercover sting operation
- Whether the defendant has been found to have child pornographic material
- The number of alleged victims
- At the same time, there are a number of mitigating factors, including:
- The defendant having mental health issues
- The defendant having substance abuse issues
- The defendant not having a criminal history
- The communication being less egregious in nature
- Not having any communication with other minors
Enticement cases are incredibly complex, as are the sentencing guidelines associated with them. However, it is always a very serious crime that can carry a minimum prison sentence of 10 years with it.
Enticement Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for enticement varies between states, and also depends on the nature of the crime. If a minor was involved in the enticement, there may be no statute of limitations at all. Similarly, if the enticement led to a sexual act, it is possible for a statute of limitations to not exist either. Enticement charges are incredibly serious and if they are a ‘minor’ offence, they will still carry lengthy statutes of limitations, which can also be tolled. The exception is that charges must generally be brought within a set period of time after the victim turns 18.
- Mitchel Pask was convicted of attempting to entice a 9 year old girl into a local park’s shelter in June, offering her candy. As part of the trial, which took just one day, the jury visited the park. They returned a guilty verdict. However, the verdict was overturned, as a new judge on appeal felt that the shelter could not be determined to be a ‘secluded area’, which is a requirement in enticement cases. Further appeals are now expected, not in the least because Pask has a history of sexual assault on children, and has spent 11 years in prison over the past two decades. He is currently in jail on a different misdemeanor charge. (15 WMTV)
- Justin Haley has been found guilty of an enticement felony that took place in 2014, as part of a Kirksville Regional Computer Crimes Unit investigation. Haley engaged in online discussions with an undercover agent posing as a 13 year old girl. Haley has been made aware of this age several times, yet Haley continued to attempt to organize a meetup with the fictitious girl for sexual purposes. He arrived at the arranged meeting place, where he was picked up by police officers. (KTVO)
- In a similar case, 59 year old Jeffrey Parkhurst believed to be engaged in online conversations with a 15 year old boy. Said boy was an undercover agent. Parkhurst was later convicted of enticement. (Wand 17)
Enticement Quick Links & References
- 18 U.S. Code Paragraph 2422 – Coercion and Enticement
- What Is Child Enticement?
- 18 U.S. Code Paragraph 3553 – Imposition of a Sentence
Enticement Laws by State
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming