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

Chris Hansen is Back Running Sex Stings

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Chris Hansen in August of 2015 began once again running a variation of his famous “To Catch a Predator” Internet sex sting.

 

His show was cancelled back in 2008 after a lawsuit when one of the men arrested committed suicide. There have been a number of suicides arising as a result of men entrapped into compromising situations. The new TV show is different in that it is not run by law enforcement, but rather Hansen’s own TV crew. The show resulted in ten arrests in Fairfield. The new show called “Hansen vs. Predator” is cashing in on the entertainment value of sex stings. I actually defended several of the men arrested years ago when Hansen filmed one of his shows in Ft. Myers, right down the street from my home. Hansen’s shows are actually dangerous in that years ago, a man in Murphy Texas shot himself as a result of the show. There was a lawsuit, a settlement and the show got cancelled.

 
Maybe Hansen can team up with Grady Judd in Polk County. Hansen’s new show is all about money. It is privately funded with a kickstarting campaign. For fifty dollars you can get a coffee mug with Hansen’s scowling face saying “have a seat”. For $1200 dollars you can actually have a seat, a lunch with Chris Hansen in New York. Hansen is now in talks with several networks seeking a contract for his new show. Once again, this is all about creating crime, not detecting or preventing it. What Hansen should do is a video to be used in grade schools as an educational tool teaching and warning kids about the dangers of the Internet. Educational films simply don’t pay as much as salacious TV specials. The almighty dollar rules.

 
These shows are all about rating and advertisers. There is a tremendous incentive to create a crime. If no one responded, if no one showed up or if someone tried to walk away there would be no show. Nothing sells on television like sex and Hansen has mastered selling it to the viewers. No one seems to care about the truth.

 
If you are on an Internet social media site, a dating site or a hookup site and you see a post or text that appears to be a minor, flag it and report it to the police. Prevention is the answer and the best way to protect children is to keep them off the Internet. Never try and meet a minor, for any reason, much less sex. As a sex crime lawyer, I have handled three dozen Internet sex sting cases and talked to many more men arrested around Florida and the Country. Most are not pedophiles but rather shy introverted young men on adult dating sites. They simply were not looking for children. The public is terribly misled by men like Chris Hansen and publicity seekers like Sheriff Grady Judd.

 
If you have questions or want to talk, call my Ft. Myers Office or my Sarasota Office for a free consultation
In Ft. Myers call 239 334 8890 In Sarasota call 941 366 3506

What is Sextortion?

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Sextortion is using threats to force someone to engage in sexual activity. For example, threatening to publish compromising pictures on the Internet and using that threat to force someone to engage in sex is engaging in sextortion. The FBI has recently published information on this type of activity. It is for this very reason that I caution everyone to never send any sexually explicit photographs over the Internet. Men and women, in the course of a relationship, may exchange sexually explicit pics by way of chat, texting or emails, never once thinking that this may come back to haunt them in the future. Later, those same pics may be used to force one partner or the other to continue the relationship or perform sex acts against their will. Teenage girls are particularly susceptible to this type of manipulation and should never send explicit pictures to anyone.
There is also a scam running now on the Internet dating sites. In the course of text and email exchanges, men will receive a “naked” or suggestive pic of what appears to be a hot young woman in a provocative pose. The woman will trick the man into sending a penis pic. A week or so later, the man will receive an email, a text or a phone call from a person pretending to be a police officer. The “detective” will tell them that they have been communicating with a minor and threaten prosecution. This is absolutely a scam. The “detective” will tell them that the case can be resolved with a payment for counseling. The unsuspecting victim will be instructed to send a money order or make some type of payment to avoid prosecution or avoid exposure. As a sex crime lawyer here in Sarasota, I have gotten many calls from men on whom this scam is being run. It is not the police. It is a trick to get you to send money. I have reported this to the police but they will do nothing. The problem is that local police departments simply are not interested. They cannot clearly establish where the scam is being run from, and claim they have no jurisdiction.

If you find yourself a victim of this type of scam, get as much information about where the payment is supposed to be sent and then contact your local law enforcement department.
Be very careful on Internet hookup sites like Backpage.com. Married men are susceptible to being shaken down for money with the threat of exposure of infidelity. This is particularly true if there is evidence in the form of pics, videos or sexually explicit texts. The Internet is a dangerous place and never send anything that will later be a source of blackmail. This is also true when it comes to the homosexual dating sites. The threat of being “outed” is used as a shake down for money. Be careful with Skype. If you are doing a live Skype be absolutely certain that the person on the other end is an adult. Demand verification of age. Skyping with a minor can land you in State prison for fifteen years. The bottom line is never do anything with anyone that could even remotely be a minor. There is a whole world of adult partners out there. Sex with an underage partner will destroy your life.
If you have questions, feel free to call 941 366 3506