Maryland bill would criminalize new types of computer crimes

A new bill has been introduced in Maryland that would protect online victims from various forms of Internet-related violence. The measure would create specific punishment for those convicted of Internet crimes including “rape by proxy,” a certain type of cyberstalking. Lawmakers say that the bill has been introduced in response to outcry from several victims of the crime. The new measure would make rape by proxy a felony, and defendants could receive up to 20 years’ prison time for the offense.

Rape by proxy is a relatively new phrase. The term refers to a growing problem in which offenders will commit Internet fraud by assuming the identity of their victims online. In one recent case, a man pretended to be his ex-wife, for example. That man posted several advertisements soliciting sex from strangers. Those posts included pictures of the ex-wife and her children, and their home address was included.

The online posts reportedly encouraged strangers to come to the woman’s home to rape her. One of the posts was even titled “rape me and my children,” according to investigators. The defendant in this case received 115 years’ prison time in connection with the activities. He was sentenced under other statutes, but lawmakers say a rape by proxy law will likely be required in the future.

Individuals who are accused of Internet crime such as rape by proxy may benefit from consulting a Maryland attorney. These professionals may be able to provide additional information about the criminal charges. Attorneys’ advice may allow clients to make educated decisions about their criminal defense cases.

Source:  WJLA, “Cyberstalking bill introduced in Md. House” Kris Van Cleave, Feb. 27, 2014