Delaware resident Geoffrey Hines was sentenced to 23 years in prison for committing numerous state and federal sex crimes against children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among his charges were manufacturing or attempting to manufacture child porn. Hines used gaming websites and streaming platforms like Twitch to connect with children. According to authorities, Hines targeted over two dozen boys between the ages of 9 and 12.
Hines would then attempt or succeed at convincing young boys to undress and perform sexual acts or for him to perform sexual acts with the child present. In one instance, Hines offered a 9-year-old boy $65 to undress while Hines performed sexual acts on the other end of the camera. In other cases, Hines paid the children for their participation through gaming credits to be used on video game websites and gift cards.
Because of the widespread international use of video games, Hines could connect with children worldwide, using online translators to communicate with children who didn't speak English. Hines did attempt to protect himself from detection by deleting messages exchanged between him and the children he spoke with. To further avoid detection, Hines would report other inappropriate behavior he saw on gaming platforms to paint himself as a good Samaritan.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities saw a steep increase in child sex crimes. With more children at home, children have had more opportunities to spend more time online, making them more vulnerable to becoming exposed to trouble online. For example, in Delaware County, where Hines resided, the Delaware County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received more than 4,000 tips in about a 6-month time frame from March through September 2020.
Have You Been Accused of Sex Crimes Against Children?
If you have been charged with a crime against children, such as child pornography or sexual abuse, you are up against serious charges that could ruin your life. The legal system rarely understands or forgives anyone facing child crime allegations. You could face years in prison, registration as a sex offender, and more. It is not uncommon for the prosecution to push for the most severe sentence in these cases, which is why you need a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney to fight for your rights tooth and nail.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help Anyone Accused of a Crime Against a Child
The Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team has extensive experience defending Pennsylvanians charged with crimes against children. Our team is well versed in the defenses that can be raised under Pennsylvania law; we will develop a solid strategy to ensure your rights are protected, and you end up with the best possible outcome. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or connect with us online to schedule your consultation.