March 30 2017
Operation Resilient in the Alachua County area
The latest sex sting in Gainesville netted 15 arrests.
It tied up 46 officers from seven agencies for a week.
The average sex sting costs about $80,000 in police time, money and resources, not to mention what is spent after that in Court appearances, depositions and trials. The police spokesman claimed that it was “vital for the community” to protect our children. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Sex stings actually create crime, not prevent it. Skillful police go on the Internet posing as adults and then do a classic bait and switch and claim to be a child, usually 13 or 14 years old. They lure and entice unsuspecting men and try and convince them to come and meet. They often send suggestive pictures of girls that look like adults.
Most of the men apprehended are not pedophiles but rather shy, introverted and often mentally challenged or intellectually disabled semi-adults.
I have defended over forty of these cases in Counties around Florida and in my opinion it is a colossal waste of manpower and money.
Think how many real crimes could have been prevented or how many actual violent criminals could have been apprehended by the 46 officers tied up in the sting.
Why does law enforcement run sex stings like this?
For the local Sheriff, an elected official, most of the time it is about getting publicity. After all, they can run again, claiming they have made the streets safe for kids. That is simply not true. For the other agencies it is a way to justify getting Federal funds. The departments have to justify Federal ICAC grants and funding. It is an easy way to create feel good statistics, and keep the money flowing. There are defenses to these types of cases. The man arrested may have been illegally entrapped. He may have been lied to and fallen for a bait and switch. He may be intellectually challenged. I am representing two Autistic men now in a similar sting. They appear to be functioning adults but in reality function at the level of a twelve year old. Do not abandon a relative arrested in a case like this. You cannot believe what you see on television. There is a world of difference between what the Sheriff says on the TV and what really happened.