Autistic computer science student arrested for internet crimes

Autistic computer science student arrested for internet crimes

Mental health issues are always a difficult subject in the area of the
law and justice. On the one hand, when a person causes pain or discomfort
to another person, the victimized party deserves some sort of recompense.
On the other hand, however, is the sense that the accused criminal does
not quite fully understand the consequences of his or her actions. It
is the work of attorneys and judges to sort these issues out in a court of law.

In a case that recently caught national headlines, a 19-year-old college
student was recently arrested for various
Internet crimes he allegedly committed against a number of women nationwide. The man is
accused of hacking into a woman’s webcam and surreptitiously taking
photos while the woman was changing clothes. Police say he then attempted
to blackmail the woman, saying he would release the images if the woman
didn’t send more.

A six-month FBI investigation eventually resulted in the arrest of the
19-year-old computer science student. Police say he attempted to blackmail
several different women and had at one point hacked over 150 computers.
The man confessed to his actions following his arrest.

According to his attorney, the boy is autistic, and therefore, may feel
an unusual lack of empathy for the women whose laptops he hacked. His
family has expressed regret for his actions.

When dealing with mental health issues, courts should strive to do what
is most appropriate based on the given circumstances. Often, the normal
punishment or penalty would not serve any corrective purpose; in such
cases, the result should be carefully tailored to suit the particular
situation.

Source: CNN, “Arrest made in Miss Teen USA Cassidy Wolf ‘sextortion’ case” Greg Botelho, Sep. 27, 2013