Grady Judd is at it again in 2016 with another sex sting in Polk County. Just when you think it is safe to go back on the Internet, Polk County deputies run their classic bait and switch sex sting. This time they call it “Operation April’s Fools”. Most were arrested for traveling to meet a minor, solicitation of a minor, transmission of information harmful to a minor and use of a communication device to commit a felony. Some of the men arrested had drugs on them including marijuana and pot. Grady’s detectives worked with other law enforcement agencies, including the FDLE. Most of the men arrested were young. They fell for the classic ploy where the police pretended to be a single dad wanting his daughter to learn about sex. The men came from all across Florida from Collier, Lake, Osceola, Orange, St. Johns, Seminole and Volusia County.
As a sex sting lawyer, it never ceases to amaze me how Judd’s deputies time after time trick men into sexual chatting, sexting and traveling. The cops in Polk have it down to a science. They know just what to put in the ad. They know just how to tempt young lonely introverted men into doing something that they would never ever do. Judd’s detectives are masters in convincing otherwise law abiding young men into doing something stupid. Sadly, for the men that fall for the sting, the arrest will cost them their jobs, land them in county jail awaiting trial, and if convicted destroy their lives. Grady always says he is protecting the people of his County. The sad truth is that most of the men arrested in the sting are not from Polk but rather young guys drawn there by the ultimate temptation, sex.
Sex is the ultimate bait for a young man. A lot of the guys were between 19 and 22. In my opinion, the sex stings, although fantastic publicity for an elected official do more harm than good. The police are creating crime, not detecting or preventing it. The crime originates in the mind of the undercover officer and he sells it to an unsuspecting young impressionable man. Most of the young men really were entrapped.
There are defense in some of the cases. Entrapment may be a valid defense depending on what is said in the chats. The police ask them to bring condoms and when they show up with condoms blame them for it. The police ask them to come and have sex and when they accept, claim that it is the defendant that did the solicitation. I have been involved in thirty six sex sting defenses all across Florida. Nine times out of ten, it is the police doing the soliciting. A conviction can result in a State prison sentence, sex offender registration, sex offender probation and a lifetime of misery.