According to national news, Craig Castaneda, a California man, was recently sentenced to 35 years in federal prison after traveling to Atlanta to have sexual relations with a 9-year-old girl.
The incident occurred in 2015. Castaneda was in contact with who he thought was the mother of a 9-year-old girl but was actually an undercover FBI agent. Reports detailed how he described previous instances of child molestation.
Castaneda was arrested in Hartsfield Jackson Airport upon his arrival to Atlanta.
“The severity of this sentence is the greatest message we can send to anyone who would even think about hurting a child in this way,” Chris Hacker of FBI Atlanta said in a news release. “The FBI won't tolerate it, and we will continue to make predators like Castaneda a priority in our mission to uphold the Constitution and protect our citizens.”
Castaneda was convicted of traveling from another state to engage in sexual activity with a child under the age of 12 and one count of enticing a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Even though these are convictions for federal crimes, as a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I will outline the Georgia version of one of the offenses. In Georgia, we have our own version the criminal offense of enticing a minor - also known as enticing a child for indecent purposes.
Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes in Georgia
Enticing a child for indecent purposes in Georgia is defined by Georgia Law in O.C.G.A. §16-6-5 as:
A person commits the crime of enticing a child for indecent purposes when he or she solicits, entices, or takes any child under the age of 16 years to a place whatsoever for the purpose of child molestation or indecent acts.
The difference with the Georgia law and the federal law is that asportation is an element in enticing a child for indecent purposes. In other words, there must be some taking or moving the child towards somewhere that an indecent act would occur. The taking could be accomplished by using force, enticement, or persuasion.
Enticing a child is classified as a felony. The penalty will be a prison term between 10 and 30 years.
However, if the victim is between 14 and 16 years old and the person convicted is 18 years or younger and no more than 4 years older than the victim, that person will be guilty of a misdemeanor.
In addition to a prison sentence, the defendant is required to register as a sex offender with the Georgia Sex Offender Registry under penalty of law. If a person is ordered to register as a sex offender, and he or she neglects to do so, that person will be facing a separate crime of failure to register as a sex offender in Georgia.
Stories like the ones above are horrifying. With higher counts of sex and child trafficking in the United States than ever before, we should be concerned and on high alert. Even though the man above was found guilty and sentenced by a court of law, that does not mean that everyone who is arrested for a crime is guilty of a crime - no matter how horrendous the offense may be.
If you or a loved one has been wrongfully accused of committing a crime in the state of Georgia, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. We can help you now by offering a free case evaluation.