October 2015 Sex Sting in Panhandle of Florida

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This new sex sting just ended hours ago in Okaloosa Florida. This latest Internet sex crime investigation was called “Operation Wolf Hunter”. What law enforcement neglected to mention is that it is the police that are the wolves. The press release said that it targeted men “looking for sex with a child on the Internet”. The truth is that it is the police looking for men on the Internet that they can trick into texting or emailing, after running their basic bait and switch with respect to age. All of the men but one were white. Interestingly, in all of the stings, all across Florida, over 97% of the men arrested are white. Many are young, lonely and introverted. It still amazes me that month after month the sex stings continue to result in multiple arrests for traveling to meet a minor.
Law enforcement is getting more creative in how they lure and bait the men. They have expanded to many social media sites and are not limiting themselves to Craigslist Casual Encounters. They now target the phone “hook up” applications as well as some of the other more general dating sites. In some counties they are targeting the escorts on Backpage.com. As a sex crime lawyer, I still feel that a better answer is prevention, not entrapment and prosecution. I have now handled 36 Internet sex sting cases and have yet to see a single instance of a real teenage girl on the Internet looking for sex with an adult. Men just don’t seem to get it. There are no real young girls on the Internet looking to hook up. If you ever get an email or text that even remotely hints that the person on the other side is 13 or 14, flag it and report it. Never communicate with a minor. It is not a minor, it is the police 99% of the time.
“Are you a cop” is asked in almost every case I handle. Why do people think the police have to tell the truth? Why do you think they call it undercover? The police do not have to tell the truth when asked that question. They never do. It amazes me that some people still think, that if the question is asked, and the police lie, the case has to be thrown out. Asking that question means absolutely nothing. Later on, the State attorney will use that “question” as evidence that you knew you were doing something wrong. Bottom line is to never, no never, communicate with a minor on the Internet, the telephone or through an application on a laptop or smartphone.
If a son, brother or relative has been busted in one of these stings and you want to talk to an attorney with actual experience in trying these types of cases feel free to call for a free consultation. Not all criminal lawyers have actual experience in sex sting cases and if you want to bring in an attorney to help your local counsel feel free to call. I can be reached in my Sarasota office at 941 366 3506 for a free confidential consultation