Iowa’s attorney general is asking lawmakers to increase the penalty for attempting to entice a minor because of an "unbelievable increase" in on-line predators. Convictions for enticement of a minor more than tripled last year in Iowa due in large part to a Department of Public Safety task force that trolls the Internet, looking for predators.
But Assistant Attorney General Mary Tabor says too often they have to settle for a charge of attempted enticement because the undercover decoy isn’t truly a minor. Tabor says that’s why lawmakers should increase the penalty for an attempt to entice a minor into having sex.
"Trapping people is certainly not our intent," Tabor says. "Our intent is to remove sexual predators from the Internet before they have the chance to actually abuse a child." If the change is approved, attempted enticement would become a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
"There is really a large world of predators that are very willing to engage in these conversations," Tabor says. "Law enforcement’s very careful to let them initiate the conversation so it’s no an entrapment." The state public defender’s office has registered its opposition to the change, arguing it could wind up penalizing someone for just talking to a minor on-line.