More Sex Stings to come in Florida….Soon
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri made it clear in his press conference this week that more of the Internet stings like Operation Guardian were be run in Pinellas County in 2014. Although his agency has refused to comply with a public records request regarding his operation he continues to maintain the position that he is protecting the public and not entrapping otherwise innocent men. The official position per the Sheriff is that this is the “number one problem from a public safety perspective that we have in this County”. I disagree with his statement.
I have been involved in many of the sex stings across central Florida and I have yet to see or hear of a single incident where a real child was on one of the adult dating sites like Craigslist, Meetme.com or Backpage. The police claim kids are on these sites but in all the cases I have defended, never once have they presented any evidence that this is true. It makes for good press but the truth is that kids are not on these sites.
The police are so desperate to make the cases that under cover cops are now posting profiles as an adult. They are posting photographs of adults. They are posting photographs of adults. They are contacting adults that posted profiles as adults. These are not men looking to have sex with kids. It is true that every now and then the police find someone that has the predisposition to engage in sex with a minor and is willing to travel to engage in sex with a minor but those cases are few and far between. The vast majority of the men arrested were talked into traveling to meet a minor after they were contacted by police on the adult sites. Unfortunately, sex is the ultimate bait. In most of the cases I have handled, the undercover “chatter” invites the unsuspecting men to come over. The undercover “chatter” will bring up sex and say tempting things to induce, lure or seduce the man. Who is doing the seducing? That is the ultimate question.
We know more sex stings are coming in Pinellas and sex stings are overdue in both Sarasota and Ft. Myers. The police make money running the stings. They seize cars and forfeit them to the County. Personally, I do not think it is the number one problem in any county. The truth is that elder fraud is rampant on the West Coast of Florida. Why don’t the police run stings that target people trying to defraud our older citizens? How about Heroin? With the crackdown on prescription medication, heroin addiction has exploded. In my opinion, our precious police resources could be better spent. The police are here to protect and serve, not create crime and then make arrests. Let me hear your opinion. If a loved one has been arrested, you need to know the truth about these stings. Call 941 366 3506 or visit sarasotadefender.com