Defendant challenges Internet sex crime sting

Lawyer says there was no victim, thus no crime

January 03, 2003|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County man joined yesterday a growing number of defendants who are challenging laws used to charge men with using the Internet to solicit sex with underage girls who turn out to be fictitious.

Robert Michael Rysak -- who is charged with an attempted second-degree sex offense and with violating Maryland's computer crimes statutes for allegedly driving to Carroll County to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl -- argued through his lawyer that he is guilty of no crime because there is no girl who was a victim.

The person Rysak was communicating with through the computer was identified as "lisalee13," but in reality was a state trooper with the Maryland Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

"There is no underaged victim," Rysak's lawyer, Leonard H. Shapiro, said during a hearing yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court. "He was talking to some guy. ... Legal impossibility occurs when the intended act, even if completed, would not amount to a crime -- which is the situation here."

Shapiro also argued that Rysak, 41, of the 3800 block Dunsmuir Circle in the Chase area of eastern Baltimore County, took no "substantial step" toward sexual contact, and that the computer crimes law was aimed at child pornographers, not fantasizing chat-room users.

Rysak told the police when they arrested him Feb. 5 at a Finksburg fast-food restaurant that he probably would not have gone through with any encounter, Shapiro said.

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