King County, Washington prosecutors recently analyzed data from over 100,000 web searches. The online searches were conducted by prospective buyers of sex services over a three week period last year. They discovered that a great number of those searches, involved looking to perpetrate sex crimes while using work computers. The peak time for such searches was 2:00 pm. This time is during working hours, and searchers often visited websites such as Backpage.com, to look for for victims of sex crimes.
The prosecutor's office has partnered with several local employers, including: King County; the City of Seattle; and members of "Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking" (BEST) Alliance, to block their employees from accessing sites like this on work computers or internet. This partnership is described in more detail in this Seattle Times article here.
At Newton & Hall, our defense attorneys represent people accused of sex crimes, and many times their work computers have been affected. Frequently, when our clients homes are subject to a search warrant, their work computer is also seized and searched. From the prosecutor's perspective, this makes sense, given this information they are recovering about workplace use of computers to perpetrate sex crimes. After all, if people are using work computers to facilitate their crimes, it makes sense that prosecutors and police would look to seize and search those same computers.
One of the most difficult conversations a person can have with an employer, is the one in which they have to explain an arrest. This often occurs when they have missed time from work due to an arrest or incarceration, but more and more, I am seeing employees have to explain a missing laptop or other piece of equipment that was seized in an arrest or other search.
The defense lawyers at Newton & Hall would be happy to meet with you and discuss the particulars of your sex crime case. Call us at 253-867-2675 to speak to an attorney in our Kent office. Or for more information about sex crimes, click here.