September 5 2018
Operation D.U.V.A.L, an Internet sex sting run by the Duval County Sheriff’s office, this week resulted in the arrest of seventeen men for purportedly targeting children on the Internet.
The details of the arrest are not yet posted, and all we have so far is the law enforcement “spin” on what really happened. Were the men really seeking children or were law enforcement detectives working in an undercover capacity seeking men with bait and switch ads on social media sites? Often, there is an incentive for the police agencies to produce results if they have taken federal money or grants from ICAC. It will be interesting to see which social media sites were used now that Craigslist casual encounters and Backpage.com have been taken down.
In St. Johns County, in the last sting, police were posting on adult escort sites and then running the “bait and switch” claiming or pretending to then be minors. The Internet is a dangerous place for children but it is also a dangerous place for lonely men. Over the years, I have represented a number of intellectually challenged men with autism who fall for the police entrapment techniques. What I have learned is that you cannot believe the press reports put out by the various Sheriff’s departments. When you actually look into the facts and the evidence of what really happened, many times it is the police doing the luring, seducing and enticing. The police will first pretend to be an adult woman, posting on an adult site. When they get a response, in the first three or four chats, they will say “I am really 14”. Many men continue with the chat out of curiosity.The undercover detectives will pretend to be a 13 or 14 year old trying to lure the men into traveling and meeting.
Curiosity killed the cat!
The best way to not get arrested is to not commit a crime. If you stumble into this type of situation, never, no never travel to meet a minor. If someone on a social media site even hints they are underage, terminate all texting and chat. The police will arrest you for even chatting or texting with a minor, even if you do not travel. The world is full of adult women anxious to have sex (just like men). Don’t even think about hooking up with a kid. There are no teen age girls out there that want someone to “teach them about sex”. It is always a cop, always! They don’t call it jail bait for nothing.