Sex Sting Police Abuses Exposed
WTSP in Tampa is running a great series this week exposing the abuses by police agencies running the sex stings in West and Central Florida. Noah Pransky has been following and investigating the police misconduct now for months. His article last night focused on Pinellas County, Florida and the last several stings run there. As a Sex Sting Lawyer, I was involved as a criminal defense attorney in several of those cases. His article is dead on. The police are in these internet sex stings for the money and publicity. In one of my internet sex crimes cases, the undercover officer talked for two days with my client that was on a purely adult site. It was only after he drove 300 miles and showed up outside that for the first time age was mentioned. In another case a young student was misled and tricked into traveling on bicycle to meet a girl who initially misrepresented her age on the adult site.
The Public is being terribly misled by men like Sheriff Grady Judd regarding sex stings. Police are now randomly targeting any man that puts up an adult profile on an Internet dating site. They do try and establish a bond and after chatting for a while attempt the basic bait and switch thus creating the so called ” underage internet sex sting”. I have been involved in numerous sex crimes cases in the last five years and the absolute truth is that law enforcement is not catching real predators. They, in most instances, talk lonely young men who were really seeking companionship with someone their own age into compromising situations. Here is my prediction for 2015. This year, 2015, you are going to see law enforcement shift the focus and run child pornography stings. They will try and bait men into either sending or receiving images of underage females in sexually explicit situations. There will still be regular Sex Stings in the Polk County area and in the counties where getting elected is important. Did you ever wonder why you don’t see Sex Stings in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami? The sex stings seem to be in Counties where the Sheriff is a member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association.
The investigative reporters need to follow the money in these sex stings. Noah Pransky is on the right track. When you get Federal ICAC money you have to produce results, even at the expense of arresting innocent men. In the Pinellas Sting the undercover officer doing the chatting in one of my cases was an Air Force OSI investigator. He committed a Federal felony by his participation in a purely State investigation. Of course, he has never been prosecuted or even investigated. When the abuses are exposed, the prosecutors generally make you an offer you can’t refuse to resolve the case. The consequences of lifetime registration as a registered sex offender make it impossible not to accept probation on a non sex offense. In these types of cases, aggressive representation can make a difference. A lot of criminal defense attorneys have never handled these types of cases and are not aware of the true abuses and how to expose them. It is 2015, these underage internet sex sting cases are not impossible and you should never give up hope. If you have questions feel free to call me for a free consultation at 941 366 3506