Anthony Weiner, the former U.S. Congressman from New York, is in trouble yet again. Just a few weeks after being in the headlines for sexting with his sleeping son next to him (which he’s being investigated over), Weiner’s latest scandal involves him allegedly engaging in a graphic online relationship with a 15 year old girl, and The Daily Mail reports he knew she was underage. Weiner’s past indiscretions, whatever you think of them, weren’t necessarily crimes, but now, according to legal experts, he appears to have entered dicier territory, especially since he didn’t deny anything when he issued a statement to the Mail.
In a statement, Weiner wrote:
I have repeatedly demonstrated terrible judgement about the people I have communicated with online and the things I have sent. … I am filled with regret and heartbroken for those I have hurt. … While I have provided the Daily Mail with information showing that I have likely been the subject of a hoax, I have no one to blame but me for putting myself in this position. … I am sorry.
To determine exactly what kind of legal repercussions Weiner may be facing, LawNewz spoke to Areva Martin, a lawyer who specializes in women and children’s issues. While it’s unclear from the Mail’s report exactly what kind of photos and videos were exchanged, the girl’s claims that “[Weiner] would tell me to say his name as I was touching myself” and “He would ask me to take my clothes off” could still rise to the level of him committing a crime even if she didn’t comply.
Martin pointed out that both federally and in Weiner’s home state of New York, there are variations of laws against “promoting the sexual performance of a minor.” If the girl did end up complying with his requests, there could be other charges related to child pornography, especially if he recorded video the video to his computer.
Martin added that she hopes “conversations like this” continue to be public because, if the allegations are true, the former Congressman would be another public figure outed as a sexual predator. “People usually think of ‘the guy in the trench coat,'” she explained, referring to the dangerous stereotypes that bely the unfortunate truth about predators usually coming from a position of authority.
Meanwhile, when asked about Weiner at an unrelated press conference on Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (who is a lawyer) told the assembled media that “I’ve read the reports and let me say this: if the reports are true, it’s possibly criminal and it is sick.” The governor added that he has “heard enough about Anthony Weiner” and thinks “that goes for all New Yorkers.”