She doesn't need a criminal lawyer yet. If law enforcement ever contacts her about this, she should only say that she doesn't want to speak to them without a lawyer present. But she should then remain completely silent if any law enforcement people try to speak with her (and then she should get a lawyer), and she should stop communicating with the parents about this right away and stop talking about it with anyone.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Stephen Pearcy is licensed to practice law in California. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. The response is for legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question.
She doesn't need a lawyer...yet. If the father, the chat room monitors or the ISP reports it to law enforcement and they begin investigator her, then she will need an attorney.
Claiming you didn't know the actual age is usually irrelevant to law enforcement. They usually take the position that all pedophiles and molesters say the same thing. It is unfortunate, but sometimes people who truly have no interest in underage sexual conduct get caught up in law enforcement's overzealous web when it comes to activities of this type.
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IF your friend is contacted by the police, she can retain counsel. The CA and her county bar associations can provide referrals, if needed.
If charged, she will be provided with counsel if she cannot afford one.
The foregoing is for general information purposes and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
You need to stop providing such specific details regarding a potential crime. You claim to be posting a question for "a friend" but do not claim that you are a witness to what actually happened or was said. If you're not a witness or actually the friend, you are simply relating a scared person's version of a potentially illicit interaction with a minor that may well have included more than what you've been told. Do not post further details. Here I will respectfully disagree with my colleagues. Your friend should hire a criminal attorney where he/she can confidentially reveal exactly what happened. The attorney can then investigate the matter and do everything possible to avoid a potential filing of a criminal allegation. Waiting until the cops investigate (i.e. fabricate evidence, coach witnesses, and create an imbalanced picture of what actually happened) is a passive approach that doesn't best serve the potential criminal defendant. Hire an attorney, let him investigate, have him on standby - all of this will reduce the chance your friend will face criminal charges and give your friend piece of mind. As I said, as a friend you don't know what actually happened, perhaps your friend is too embarrassed to reveal the full truth. Advise your friend to hire an attorney and you should stay out of this matter. Good luck.