In light of the fact that Polk County just ran a sting with forty two arrests you can expect that the Sheriff in Manatee and the Sheriff in Sarasota will soon follow suit. We usually see sex sting cases right around Valentine’s day so we are a week overdue for another sting here. In the Polk sting, the Sheriff’s office focused on child pornography with great success.
I cannot impress upon you too much how terrible the penalties are, particularly here in Sarasota County.
The State is enhancing all the third degree felonies to second degree charges and running the guidelines through the roof when it comes to State prison time.
The best way to not get arrested is to stay away from the peer to peer sharing programs and more importantly, never, no never download or view kiddie porn. You can end up doing more time for looking at a video of a thirteen year old than actually having sex with a 13 year old. The State attorney in Manatee and Sarasota has a scorched earth policy and files dozens of charges running the Florida sentencing guidelines up to thirty to fifty years, for just viewing a video. If you are on the Internet and anyone ever asks you to send child pornography to them, do not do it. In thesex stings, the cops will engage a person in chat and then suggest an exchange ofchild pornography. Never do that. Nothing good comes of ever viewing an underage person engaged in sex. Most of the time, you will end up in prison for letting curiosity get the best of you.
There is a scam running now on the Internet.
If you are on PlentyOfish.com or Craigslist.com a woman claiming at first to be an adult will get you to exchange dirty pics. She will send you a sexually explicit vagina pic and ask you to send her a dick pic. When you do fall for this, you will get a later text, email or call from someone pretending to be a detective. The “detective” will tell you that you have been communicating with a minor and offer you a “diversion” program for a fee. This is a money hustle and a scam. As a sex crime criminal defense lawyer I get calls almost every week from men who have been contacted by someone pretending to be a cop. Real cops do not do that so if you get a call like that, terminate the call and block future texts emails and calls from that person
Valentines is only days away and in the past, this has been the time of year the police run their Internet sex stings.
They are doing things a little different now. In the past, they stalked Craigslist casual encounters. Since the arrests have been falling off, they now are actually contacting people on the phone applications and dating sites. PlentOfish.com is one of the prime targets. Even if a person posts as an adult looking for an adult, the police try and pull the bait and switch. My advice is to totally avoid the Internet dating sites. Nothing on the Internet is true. Everyone lies about who they are, what they want and in particular, their age. Men pretend to be women. Women pretend to be something other than what they are. Cops pretend to be a legit date.
If anyone even ever remotely suggests they are underage, flag their ad or post and walk away. Everyone should to their part to keep kids off the Internet and flagging someone that claims they are a minor is a good start. Never, no never chat or text with anyone claiming to be 13 or 14 years old. Never, no never send a penis pic to anyone. Your penis isn’t that pretty and you run the risk of getting scammed or arrested. Nothing good comes of seeing your penis on the Internet, ever. If you are straight, chances are you are actually texting or emailing with a gay guy, not some woman or girl. If you are gay, you are likely being targeted by the cops and they will try and trick you into traveling to meet a minor. The best way to not get arrested for Internet solicitation is to simply not chat with anyone absent proof of age. Everyone lies about age. Demand to see a photo ID before meeting with anyone. The Internet is a dangerous place and men are getting robbed, shot and killed showing up to meet what they think are prostitutes.
Nothing is real on the Internet….Nothing.
When the cops lie on the Internet, there is no consequence.
If you lie, your lie can get you arrested.
If you chat with a minor, even if you are lying, you put yourself at risk.
OBSCENE COMMUNICATION USE COMPUTER SOLICIT PARENT GUARDIAN CONSENT
TRAVEL TO MEET AFTER USING COMPUTER
LEWD LASCIVIOUS BEHAVIOR – VICTIM AGE 12 TO 16
OBSCENE COMMUNICATION USE COMPUTER TO SEDUCE, SOLICIT, LURE CHILD
ABUSE OF A CHILD WITHOUT GREAT BODILY HARM
USE OF A COMPUTER TO SOLICIT A PARENT TO COMMIT SEX ACTS WITH A CHILD
TRAVELING TO SEDUCE/SOLICIT/ENTICE A CHILD TO COMMIT A SEX ACT.
TRANSMISSION OF MATERIAL HARMFUL TO MINORS (SENDER AND RECIPIENT IN STATE).
ATTEMPTED LEWD OR LASCIVIOUS BATTERY (VICTIM 12 OR OLDER LESS THAN 16).
UNLAWFUL USE OF A TWO-WAY COMMUNICATION DEVICE
TRAVEL TO MEET A CHILD FOR SEX
INCLUDING CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY
USING A COMPUTER TO SEDUCE, ENTICE OR SOLICIT A CHILD AND TRAVELING TO MEET A MINOR TO ENGAGE IN UNLAWFUL SEXUAL CONDUCT
Hundreds of men are arrested and accused of being potential pedophiles for supposedly soliciting children over the Internet or with smartphones. They are often charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex or transmission of indecent images. Most of these so called crimes are actually created by the police running sophisticated Internet sex stings. The police regularly entrap unsuspecting men who had no intention of having contact with a minor. The consequences of a conviction are horrible and State prison is called for under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines
Read these blogs and learn the truth about how these stings are conducted. He has been representing victims of these stings as far back as the TV show “To catch a predator”. Not all criminal defense lawyers have experience with these types of cases. If you are speaking with a defense attorney, demand a list of the sex sting clients he has actually represented. Demand to see the lawyer’s actual results. Many lawyers claim to have sex sting experience. Few actually do.
There are defenses to Sex Sting cases
There may be a good defense to your case. Every case is unique and underlying circumstances vary. Police entrapment is one of the most common. The police may have violated the law or ICAC standards and procedures. The police may have searched your home, your computer or your telephone without a search warrant. The police may have illegally accessed your computer with a secret program. The police may have tricked you into a confession. The police may have lied about the age of the chatter or sent a photograph of an adult to lure and seduce you. When your life is at stake…..Experience, Knowledge and Dedication Counts
Call an experienced sex sting defense lawyer and an attorney who is prepared to take sex sting cases to trial if necessary. Explore all your options.
In the latest Osceola County sex sting, ten men were arrested. Fortunately, the State Attorney’s office and the Judges in Osceola seem to treat men arrested in these stings more fairly than other jurisdictions. As a sex sting lawyer, I track the sentences men receive throughout Florida. The sentences vary greatly. Judges are becoming more and more aware of the tactics the police use in baiting men into these compromising situations.
In the latest sting, undercover police detectives posted ads on adult sites pretending to be a father with a 14 year old daughter. The undercover chatters pose as a father who wants someone to have sex with his daughter. It amazes me that men are still falling for this bait. There are no real fathers or mothers that want some man to come and teach their daughter about sex. Such ads are always the police. I have seen the police run other ads where they pose as a adult woman who wants a man to have sex with her minor sister. These types of ads are also deceptive. No real sister wants anyone to have sex with her little sister.
On a positive note, the judges in Osceola, realizing what the police are doing are in most cases not imposing prison on the men who fall for this type of entrapment. In Osceola, as opposed to places like Manatee County or Duval County, often the judges sentence people to community control (house arrest) or probation. Sadly if they plead to a sex charge, they still become a registered sex offender. In these types of cases, in the past, I have been successful in negotiating a plea to a non sex offense like attempted child abuse or unlawful use of a two way communication device. In Osceola, at least the prosecutors and the Courts take a common sense approach. For that I commend them. I have handled a lot of sex sting cases in Florida and wish more of the judges would recognize what the police are really doing.
Just as I predicted, the State (Bill Eddins ,State Attorney for Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton County in Florida) announced the arrest of 22 men in the latest Okaloosa sex Sting operation.
This one was captioned Operation Undertow and targeted men in the Pensacola area.
It is more of the same tactics where the police post ads on Craigslist looking for unsuspecting men they can bait and switch and talk into meeting with fictional children. They again used the classic bait words like “taboo” and pretended to be women looking for some man to “mentor their daughter”. They also used the classic bait phrase “I am very inexperienced” and suggested group sex scenes. I never cease to be amazed that men, year after year, fall for the same bait.
It has been about a year since the last Okaloosa sex sting. I would be willing to bet they run one in the near future. Sadly, in the last few stings I looked at, the undercover operations seemed to ensnare young men with mental disabilities. If you are a parent and have a son with a learning deficit, even if he is an adult, you need to monitor his Internet access. Young men with mental disabilities are the low hanging fruit for the police entrapment techniques.
The police also frequently run ads on Craigslist, pretending to be mothers who want someone to teach their daughters about sex.
That is ridiculous. There are no real mothers that would ever do that. No real mother would ever want her child to hook up with an adult. It is a crime for a mother to do that.
It is a crime to hook up with a child. Do not commit a crime. Do not participate in a crime.
It should be everyone’s goal to protect children and although the police have good intentions, their tactics leave a lot to be desired.
The real predators know better than to go on Craigslist Casual Encounters, and they know that any ad that even hints or pretends to be a young girl looking for experience, or sex, is really a police sting ad.
The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime.
Never, no never, interact with anyone on the Internet that pretends to be 13 or 14 years old. Do not let temptation or curiosity get the best of you. Many lonely men drinking and sitting at home alone get sucked into saying stupid stuff on the Internet.
It is a second degree felony to travel to meet a minor for sex.
It is also a crime to send a penis pic to a minor.
Do not do it. Do not commit a crime.
Some of the recent sex stings also target child pornography.
I recently learned that the FBI actually took over a child porn site and ran it for a while allowing people to get kiddie porn from the site. Federal Courts are now looking into that.
If you are talking to someone on the Internet and they even hint that they are underage, break off contact immediately.
Do not try and be a vigilante. Let the police do their job. Hopefully the police monitor Craigslist and if they see a child there they will do something like contacting her parents. If there is any real mother out there trying to get someone to mentor or teach her child about sex, hopefully, the police will arrest her. The Internet is a dangerous place. We should all do our part to protect children. Parental controls on the computer is a huge first step. As a sex sting lawyer, my goal is to help people prevent crime. Crime prevention is the answer, not the creation of sex predators out of innocent men. Never, no never, email, text, skype or instant message a minor. There are plenty of adult women who want sex. Stick to adults and leave the kids alone. They don’t call it jail bait for nothing.
What ICAC and the various police agencies are doing in entrapping innocent men is just plain wrong. Everyone is being misled into believing that these types of stings are making the Internet safe for kids. This is absolutely not true. The police are destroying lives, and making innocent gullible men sex offenders forever with their undercover operations.
In just this past month, over eighty men have been arrested in Florida in these sex sting operations. In every case the police publicly took credit for getting sex predators off the streets. It is a lie. As a sex sting lawyer, I see the actual evidence. I see the emails, the texts, the pictures and I hear the recorded phone calls. In almost every case, the men were not looking for kids. Sadly, most of the men have insecurities, mental deficits, disabilities or other conditions affecting their ability to make sound decisions. It is not fair for undercover police chatters to tempt men with enticing ads, sexy innuendo and invitations to travel. There is a world of difference between being weak and being a sex predator.
The Internet is a dangerous place. It is parent’s responsibility to keep kids off of it. In maybe one is a thousand cases is a real predator caught. Most of the time it is a man who was on an adult Internet dating site like Meetme.com or Craigslist Casual Encounters looking for adult companionship that gets sucked into chatting with an undercover cop. The truth is that it is the police that are the real sex predators. I have represented mentally challenged men, men who have never dated, men who are inexperienced and gullible, and men who have fallen for the police temptation. Weakness should not be a crime. The public has bought into a bill of goods when it comes to the propaganda put out by the various Sheriff’s departments on this issue. What we need is for the Media to expose the truth. Noah Pransky, a Tampa reporter did a good job of investigative reporting on this issue but nothing has been done lately by other news agencies. What the police say in their press releases, most of the time is one sided, and leaves out key details. They leave out the fact that they were on adult sites. They leave out the fact that they posed first as an adult. The leave out the fact they invited travel. They leave out the fact that they said, bring a condom. They make it sound like men are stalking kids when in truth, it is the police stalking weak men. This is just plain wrong.
Early this month the Manatee Florida Sheriff announced the arrest of 14 men. Just this week another Sting in the Daytona Deltona area claimed another thirteen victims and in the last two days, two more stings were announced in the Jacksonville area as well as South Georgia in Effingham and Chatham Counties. The Effingham sting ran for weeks and was called operation “summer heat”. In that one sixteen men in their twenties succumbed to the police entrapment techniques. That sting also roped in another thirteen men in their thirties and amazingly another seven in their forties. That is a total of four stings in less than two weeks. Law enforcement has found a way to create crimes, run up arrests and destroy lives. I would be willing to be out the eighty six men arrested, there were only a handful that ever had any intention of hooking up with anyone underage.Sex is the ultimate bait….Bait and Switch…That is why they call it jail bait
The police are scraping the bottom of the barrel now and arresting men with learning disabilities, developmental impairments and other mental deficits. The propaganda that they are “protecting the public from predators” is simply false. What amazes me is that eighty six men got talked into traveling to arrest locations. I have blogged on this issue over and over. As a sex crime lawyer I see how these arrests destroy families and lives.
The best way to not get arrested is to never communicate with anyone underage, period.
There are no young girls on the Internet that are looking for sex…Ever
If you hear the age 12, 13, 14 or 15 terminate all contact immediately
Nothing good will ever come of talking to a minor on the Internet.
If you have a friend or relative or son that spends time on the Internet, warn them to never communicate with a minor. In my opinion the police should focus on educating teenagers to the dangers. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It is always a trap….There are no real underage girls….Do not even think about it…do not do it.
Everyone’s goal is the protection of children…My goal is to protect people from police abuse
Here we go again. When crime slows down for the summer, the police simply create offenses. An Internet sex sting will do the trick.
The latest just announced in Daytona and Deltona is called Operation K.I.S.S., as in kiss your ass goodbye if the police have their way.
The Volusia Sheriff and other agencies are at it again claiming to protect the public from online predators. Nothing could be further from the truth. Again they are targeting weak vulnerable men who were looking not for children, but adults. What the police neglect to report is that in almost every instance, they engaged the men first pretending to be an adult. After getting them to chat they then claimed to be underage, about 14 years old. They would then with subtle hints try and get the men to talk about sex or worse yet, send pictures.
This happens every summer. It is a sure fire way to pump up arrest statistics and get publicity. The sad thing is that these sex stings ruin lives. They destroy families and try and label men sex predators for life. If you become a registered sex offender, you experience a lifelong punishment. Being on sex offender probation is a one way ticket to jail. Everyone’s goal is to get you to violate your probation and put you in Florida State prison for years. As a sex sting lawyer, I see all too often the damage they do with basically trumped up entrapment cases.
It is true that occasionally they arrest someone for traveling to meet a minor or solicitation of a minor that really was looking for a minor. Those cases are few and far between. Most of the time they arrest young introverted shy men who are simply weak when it comes to temptation.
Sex is the ultimate bait. A man thinking with the wrong head, particularly when the police send pictures and invitations to come over and have sex, can find himself, arrested, on television and in Court facing a decade in prison. These cases are not hopeless.As a sex sting lawyer, I have handled well over thirty Florida Internet sex sting cases in Seminole, Volusia, Lee, Manatee, Sarasota, Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. The key issue is “who is the real seducer”? Most of the time it is cops, and they are good at it.
ABC channel seven news had a segment on the morning news on August 5th 2016 about the latest sex sting called Operation Green Shepherd run in Manatee County.
Once again, the report was filled with misinformation and outright falsehoods. This is not the stations fault but rather the way the information is provided by the sheriff’s office. These sex sting operations do not target men looking to seduce unsuspecting children. In fact, it is just the opposite. Police are actually contacting men with no prior history of interest in children. They will randomly contact men who have posted profiles on Meetme.com and engage them in chat. The undercover chatters will cleverly hint at getting together for a date. After engaging them they will mention that they are really underage and try and set up a sexual encounter. They will suggest bringing condoms. They will claim they want someone to teach them about sex. The problem is that this type of entrapment is not working on real predators. It is ensnaring young men, men with development disorders and autism. What this does to the families of these young men is horrible.
If the police were truly interested in preventing crime, instead of creating crime, the resources would be better spent by officers lecturing in middle school. They should have officers at PTA meetings alerting parents to the dangers and encouraging parental controls. The truth is that very few children are seduced on the Internet. This is the same “stranger danger” myth that is spread about sex predators targeting kids on playgrounds and street corners. The truth is that almost all of sexual abuse of minors is by family members and family friends.
With each sex sting operation, the police become bolder and more creative in how they entrap unsuspecting men into compromising situations. Even when men break off contact, the undercover chatters reinitiate and try to convince them to come to a location, only to get arrested. Sadly, some young men with disabilities simply do not understand the consequences of responding. Some are so lonely that they jump at any opportunity to chat with a female and they truly do not understand that they are being drawn into a crime. These men with disabilities have a tough enough life ahead without the created label of being a sex offender.