Every indication is that men are being arrested over the last few days here in Sarasota. The best way to not get arrested is to never, no never, chat or text with anyone underage. The best way to not get charged with a crime is to not fall for the bait and switch Internet sex stings run regularly here in Sarasota and Manatee County.
It is late Summer, and the police and Sheriff’s department need the arrest statistics. It takes money to run a real sex sting and they need to make arrests and seize vehicles. Men out of loneliness and curiosity find themselves texting and chatting with undercover officers and some even travel to meet a minor at take down houses. Here is the bottom line. There are no real 14 or 15 year old girls that want to hook up with some older guy.
There is a myth that if you ask a police undercover detective “Are you a cop”, that they have to tell the truth. Of course they don’t. That is why they call them undercover cops. Do not fall for a bait and switch. I have handled over 40 Internet sex stings and in 90% of the cases, the person arrested had zero interest in a child and was basically talked into it by very savvy undercover chatters. My suggestion is never talk to anyone under age and demand that the adult prove they are an adult. In my opinion a better use of police resources would be in educating parents and in reaching out to the kids in school warning them of the real predators. Crime prevention, not crime creation is the answer. The police are supposed to be here to “protect and serve”, not to lie and create crimes to “solve”
If you ever hear “I am too young to drive” or “I can’t drink alcohol” terminate all conversation. The police here in Sarasota are now arresting people who only chat and later do not even travel to meet a minor. Just chatting and texting can get you arrested. Never chat or text with anyone even remotely underage. Some people reading this may be reading it too late. If you have a relative arrested in this latest Sarasota Internet Sex Sting, do not abandon them. You do not know the facts yet. They can be falsely accused.
The Sarasota Sheriff’s Department regularly runs these stings and then conceals the arrests by having the Sheriff not post them daily. They get a special order to exempt making this a public record. When you read the actual arrest reports, later in the criminal cases, the real truth comes out. Many young men, some with mental defects fall for this. I have represented Autistic young men who simply do not know better. I have represented mentally challenge men with disabilities that have affected their judgement. A conviction will make a person a sex offender and put them in State prison. These cases often have very valid defenses. The police may have engaged in “Entrapment” or other improper conduct. The person arrested may have a mental or psychological defense. They may have been impaired by some type of disorder. Many times, the punishment sought by the prosecutors greatly exceeds the harm. There is no real victim in this type of case. Many times, the greatest harm is a person gets arrested for something they would never otherwise have done but for the police conduct. I try to educate the public on the real truth about sex stings, but sadly, many men learn it too late.