Impersonation of a minor; use of communications system, penalty. (HB1356)

Introduced By

Del. Peter Farrell (R-Henrico)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Impersonation of a minor; use of communications system; penalty. Provides that any person 18 years of age or older who, while falsely representing himself to be a minor, uses a communications system to communicate with any person he knows or has reason to know is a minor is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/21/2016Presented and ordered printed 16100462D
01/21/2016Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/27/2016Assigned to sub: Criminal Law
01/27/2016Assigned App. sub: Criminal Law
01/27/2016Assigned Courts sub: Criminal Law
02/01/2016Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/16/2016Left in Courts of Justice


Waldo Jaquith writes:

So if I send a letter to a business, writing in the name and voice of my toddler ("Dear Cheerios, I love to eat your cereal and it is delicious. Love, Henry")...that would be a crime?

This bill is a terrible idea.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

It's a problem that there's no exception for law enforcement, who routinely needs to pretend to be a minor for the purpose. This also prohibits in-character responses to fan mail, e.g. "Dear Sally, Thank you for writing, I'm glad you like my show! Love, Elmo."

Mary D. Devoy writes:

You are correct Waldo!

Now, in its current state this proposal is Virginia's it the highest grade of misdemeanor and it is NOT a registrerable offense (VSP Sex Offender Registry).

BUT if it DID becomes law this July 1st……I bet you in a year or maybe three some Virginia Legislator out there will THEN propose to elevate it to a felony and perhaps even a Registrable offense. IF someone is impersonating a “real person”, taking their name and or photo then I could see that being a crime. But to lie about your age or even give a false name online, are we really going to make that a crime?

How many Facebook accounts are created for animals, building and inanimate objects by a person who isn’t identified on that page? Sorry but the lovable Panda Bear at the local zoo isn’t actually posting on Facebook people!

It’s already a crime in Virginia to solicit a minor online, why is this even needed?

What about all the minors online who falsely represent their age by increasing it to say they are 18 years old. When they lie and some “poor sap” believes them the minor hasn’t broken the law but the "poor sap" has if he’s discussed sex or exchanged photographs with someone who claimed to be an adult. AND the minors false claim of age isn't an accepted defense for the "poor sap" in Virginia he's going to prison and will be a public Sex Offender for life!

The number of new crimes that are proposed and even passed every year in the Commonwealth that are claimed “to protect the children” no matter how they are applied and who they actually sweep up, is mind-boggling. But most citizens believe the hype and never question them, it's time to start questioning them Virginia.

This Bill is 100% unnecessary!

Mary D. Devoy writes:

The Online–Sex Predator Panic
Laws Against Online Luring Harm Children
By Judith Levine
December 8, 2015