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.
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.
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