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United States v. Taylor
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
640 F.3d 255 (2011)
Jeffrey Taylor (defendant) chatted in an online chat room with an undercover police officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. Taylor engaged in sexual conversations with the undercover officer. In addition to the text-based conversations, Taylor masturbated in front of his webcam during a chat with the undercover officer, who left her camera off. When the officer asked Taylor whether they could meet in person, Taylor refused, stating that he wanted to keep their relationship an online fantasy. Because Taylor believed he was chatting with a minor, the federal government (plaintiff) charged Taylor under Section 2422(b) of the federal criminal code for attempting to use the internet, a means of interstate commerce, to induce a minor into engaging in criminal sexual activity. The government relied on two Indiana criminal statutes to charge Taylor with attempted inducement: (1) fondling in the presence of a minor; and (2) soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct. The jury convicted Taylor. Taylor appealed, arguing that although his conduct did violate the Indiana criminal statutes, it was not sexual activity as defined in Section 2422(b) because his sexual misconduct occurred digitally and not in-person. The government challenged, arguing that sexual activity included masturbation and did not require physical touch between the perpetrator and the attempted victim.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Posner, J.)
Concurrence (Manion, J.)
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