Court rejects Internet predator charge
CARSON CITY (AP) – A state law targeting Internet predators was upheld Thursday by the Nevada Supreme Court – but justices dismissed an indictment against a Reno man accused of violating the law by meeting with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old.
The high court ruling favored Anthony Colosimo, who according to Washoe County prosecutors initiated an online contact with the 41-year-old undercover deputy and asked a lot of sex-related questions in efforts to seduce someone he thought was 14 years old.
But lawyers for Colosimo, 21 when indicted in the case, said he made contact with the undercover officer while in an adults-only online chat room, and that’s who he later met at a drugstore parking lot – not someone under age 16.
The state law makes it illegal to “knowingly” contact or attempt to contact someone less than 16 with the intent to lure that person into sexual conduct.
Justice Michael Douglas, who wrote the high court’s unanimous decision, said it’s clear that in order to break the law the intended victim would have to be under age 16 and acting without consent of parents or guardians.
“Because the actual intended victim here was not less than 16 years of age, it was legally impossible for the prosecution to prove that element of the crime charged,” Douglas wrote in upholding part of Washoe County District Court Judge Brent Adams’ earlier ruling favoring Colosimo.
While the indictment was dismissed, Douglas also said the record showed that Colosimo intended “to go through with his planned sexual encounter with a minor” even though he contended that his careful questioning of the undercover officer showed his reluctance.
While the charge was erased, the high court overturned other parts of Adams’ ruling that held the law was unconstitutional.
“Our reading of the statute makes it clear that the proscribed conduct is clearly defined and persons of ordinary intelligence have fair notice of what conduct is forbidden,” the court said, adding that Adams erred in finding the law to be unconstitutionally vague.
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