As a Florida sex crime lawyer, I have a unique perspective on the Internet Sex Sting arrests. Having handled 42 such cases, and an interesting pattern jumps out at me. Although the police claim they are making the County safe for children and claim they are arresting predators, nothing could be further from the truth. Out of the 42 men I have represented, only two were men even remotely interested in Children. Three were Autistic. Many more were shy, introverted, socially inept and some, what I would describe to be as “slow”. Many did not meet the legal definition of “insantity” . Most were what I would describe as the low hanging fruit. Most were manipulated by savvy undercover police chatters who did the classic bait and switch and after posting as adults then claiming to be a 14 year old girl.
Technology is a dangerous thing. Many of the dating applications have a GPS (global positioning application) which randomly matches profiles based on geographic proximity. In other words, if a guy has posted looking for an adult 18-23 and the cops post (falsely) as a 21 year old woman, the application will match them up. The man, clearly is not looking for a child, but the cops, by posting first as an adult, get a random match with the man looking for an adult. The undercover chatters then do the “switch” claiming to be underage.
When the man balks or is hesitant, the undercover chatters will say things like” I’m sorry, I lied, but I really like older guys” or “I am looking for someone to teach me”. Some clever chatters even claim to have had experience with other older guys. This is entrapment and the cops are doing more than offering “opportunity”
Sex sting cases are defensible if you have a sex crime attorney experienced in defending these particular types of cases. The police now are posting on “escort” sites where men are clearly looking for an adult. This is particularly true in Polk County and other central Florida Counties. After pretending to be a prostitute, the undercover chatters again claim to be underage. The police are not catching the true predators. The police are the true predators.
These types of cases are destroying the lives of men who had no intention of hooking up with an underage person. Sadly, many prosecutors are going along with this type of misguided law enforcement. It makes for easy statistics and easy convictions and gives the false impression that children are being protected.
I try and warn the parents of young Autistic men. Do not let you child fall victim to this type of police predation. If you have a brother, a nephew or someone dear to you, be sure they know the dangers of the Internet. The police are targeting the dating hookup applications that use GPS. I try and warn people that if ever someone mentions they are underage, immediately terminate and block the other party. The best way to not get arrested it to not commit a crime. There are no young girls that want any older guy to teach them anything. It is always the police. Do not be weak. Do not succumb to temptation. Demand proof of real age in any Internet dating situation. Never have sex with anyone underage.
They don’t call it jail bait for nothing
If you have been arrested it is not too late to challenge the police conduct. Attorneys are not cheap and the public defender may sound like a bargain, but do you want a bargain lawyer? The decision you make in hiring a lawyer should not be based on advertising alone. Check out the lawyer and the representations or claims he may make. Ask him or her how many actual sting cases have been handled. Look at the results. Each case has unique facts and each defendant is unique. Make an informed decision in hiring the person you want standing next to you in court.