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I was watching the Hansen vs predator series.

In there a random guy called Chris Hansen goes online and pretends to be a 13 years old girl.

When people chat with him, he tries to steer the discussion on a sexual level ("I'm just coming out of the shower", etc.).

Then he lures them into his house, where there is a real life decoy (a 19 years old girl).

After some talking, the decoy goes away and Chris Hansen appears.

He then starts to question them, and he "let them go" out of the garage where the police arrests them.

They are charged with "criminal attempt to commit risk of injury to a minor".

My understanding is that Chris Hansen is a total random guy who does not work for the government. That is, he is not an undercover police agent.

Question: Is it a crime if I engage in sexual discourse with a random stranger that pretends to be a little girl, but he isn't?

I mean, he is not an undercover agent but a random guy who appears to do this for money/views or whatever.

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  • Look up "inchoate crime." These include conspiracy and attempt. In both cases it is not necessary for the underlying offence to occur or even to be possible for the conspiracy or attempt to be a crime itself. For example, if you point a fake gun at someone and pull the trigger, but you believe the gun to have been real and loaded, you have committed attempted murder (subject to the other elements of murder being present). Similarly, if two or more people plan to rob a bank but decide not to go through with it, they have nonetheless committed the crime of conspiring to rob a bank.
    – phoog
    Jan 25, 2023 at 18:23
  • There are several questions on here along the lines of "suppose someone shoots a corpse believing it to be alive; is that attempted murder?" The answer is generally yes. Similarly, if someone seeks a sexual encounter with a middle-aged man believing him to be an underage girl, that is attempted sexual abuse (or, more precisely, an attempt to commit whatever crime that jurisdiction has enacted to criminalize such behavior).
    – phoog
    Jan 26, 2023 at 0:15

2 Answers 2

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Is it a crime [to] engage in sexual discourse with a random stranger [who] pretends to be a little girl [but isn't]?

This could be the offence of child luring (Criminal Code, s. 172.1; and R. v. Morrison, 2019 SCC 15).

Section 172.1 makes it an offence to communicate using telecommunication with a person "who is, or who the accused believes is, under the age of 18", for the purpose of facilitating one of several listed sexual offences.

While some child luring would rise to the level of an actual attempt to commit the underlying offence, s. 172.1 captures even earlier activity (R. v. Legare, 2009 SCC 56, para. 25):

[s. 172.1] criminalizes conduct that precedes the commission of the sexual offences to which it refers, and even an attempt to commit them

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  • If I understand it correctly, Chris is luring other people (who are adults) into coming to his house to find a minor there. So he's trying to fish for people who would want to have sex with minors. He's not communicating with minors at all.
    – PMF
    Jan 24, 2023 at 14:28
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Yes

In fact, Australian police (state and federal) do it routinely when penetrating peadophile rings. Unlike the USA, there are no prohibitions on entrapment in Australia. Here’s an example from .

Section 66EB of the Crimes Act 1900 details the crime of Procuring or grooming child under 16 for unlawful sexual activity and explicitly provides that it’s still a crime even if the child is fictitious.

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    What Chris Hansen is doing is not entrapment if the cops did the exact same thing. Entrapment means the cops have to proactively target and encourage the offender to commit criminal action they would not commit but for the cop's interactions. The decoys are never instigate the sexual conversation and thus no entrapment occurs. Cops do it in the U.S. too.
    – hszmv
    Jan 25, 2023 at 13:08

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