In the latest Internet sex sting, five Florida men were arrested as part of “Operation Riptide” in Glynn County Georgia.
The operation involved over a dozen law enforcement agencies from Georgia, Florida and the U. S. Secret Service. Every agency has jumped on the bandwagon because it is an easy way to pump up arrests and statistics. It also makes for good press where local sheriffs can claim they are keeping children safe. In this instance one official referred to the police as guardian angels.
Time will tell as to whether or not the press releases are true. Although the sex stings may catch an occasional man who was actually trying to locate and entice a child, by far, most of the time it is the police that are contacting men and then trying to lure and seduce them into meeting with a child. There is a world of difference between what you read in the media and what really happens in real life. The police, most of the time, are the ones that do the “contacting”. The police, most of the time are the ones doing the “luring and seducing”. The police, most of the time are the ones introducing sex into the conversation. This is similar to the sex sting that was run last month in Sarasota Florida. In that sting, the undercover detectives were reaching out to men on adult sites trying to get them interested in a meeting with a fictitious child. Often, it is the social media hookup site that actually matches the people. Computers match the profiles of adults looking for adults. After computer contact is made, the police change the age and often interject sex into the conversation.
As a sex sting criminal defense lawyer, I get to see the actual chats, texts and emails. The public, most of the time does not see the real evidence and hardly ever learns the real truth. In my experience, and I have handled dozens of these cases, the real facts are far from what you see on television. I encourage members of the public to follow these cases. Sadly, family members, employers, friends and co-workers abandon men arrested in these types of cases without ever really knowing the facts. In defending these sting cases, you have to show that it is the police doing the “contacting”. Often you can show that the men were in purely adult sites looking solely for a consenting adult. You can prove that age was initially misrepresented by the police before they do the “bait and switch”. Often the undercover detectives ask the men to come over and make suggestive comments like “Do you want to cum over”. It is no accident the police spell come as “cum”. They are masters at deception and enticement.
These cases are defensible and depending on the facts can be won. More and more, juries are becoming aware of what the detectives are doing. Not all lawyers have experience defending these types of cases and some do not know the current status of the law with respect to entrapment. Some lack the technical skills and computer savvy to thoroughly investigate and prepare a sex sting defense.
If you have a loved one accused in this type of case and want to talk, give me a call at my Sarasota Florida office at 941 366 3506