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.
Harsh 2015 Sentences in Internet Sex Sting Cases in Florida
Judges in both Federal and State Court handed out long prison sentences in two Internet sex sting cases this past week. In DeFuniak Springs a man was sentenced as a result of operation “Turkey Hunt” to 25 years in State prison. The man had fallen for the internet sex sting undercover ploy where undercover officers pose as a mother offering her twelve year old daughter for sex. The man traveled to a location to meet the mother with intent to have sex with a child. The defendant in that case was also discharged from the Air Force after 19 years of service. Other men were sentenced in cyber child sting operations to sentences of 38 months, and 36 months.
In Lake Mary Florida, in a Federal case, a man was sentenced to 12 years in Federal Prison by a United States District Judge after falling for a similar pitch where the undercover sex sting officer posed as a father offering sex with two of his children ages 12 and 8. In that case the kids were being offered for $350 dollars. In both of the cases, the age of the alleged victim played a major role in the sentence. Both Judges were swayed by the age portrayed as twelve years old.
Law enforcement in 2015 sex sting operations continues to use the lure of a parent or guardian to get unsuspecting men to travel to meet a minor for sex. The best way to avoid being arrested is to never for a second even think about having sex with a minor. Never engage in any emails, chats or texts that even remotely relate to sex with a minor. There are no moms or dads on the Internet that want someone to teach their daughters about sex. There are no older sisters that want to educate a younger sister about sex. All of these ads are undercover police officers trying to make cases.
I do recognize the right of free speech in America but the Internet sites need to step up and limit access to the adult dating sites. In order to post, there should be age verification. If the police spent more effort keeping real children off the Internet it would solve the problem. For some reason, men continue to fall for the temptation of these suggestive ads. I have yet to see a situation where a real parent is offering a child. I suspect it does not exist but no one knows for sure. One thing for sure however is the fact that no one should ever even think about traveling to engage in sex with anyone underage. If you see such an ad, report it to the police and flag it. Keeping kids off of adult sites would be a great first step. If you or a family member have been arrested in a child sex sting operation in Bradenton, Manatee, Sarasota, Seminole, Polk, Broward, Dade, Collier, Brevard, Osceola, Lee or Pinellas and are facing charges of attempted child abuse, traveling to meet a minor after use of and electronic device, lure seduce or enticing a minor for purposes of having sex or have entrapment questions or need answers to questions regarding a loved one and a recent internet sex sting arrest call me, Peter D Aiken, for a free consultation, call 941 366 3506
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