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.