Internet Sex Stings take a New Approach


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Internet Sex Stings take a New Approach

As a Florida sex sting attorney, I have been tracking the various sex stings in Florida.  I have watched the police and various sheriff’s departments change their tactics.  The public is now wise (mostly) to the fact that law enforcement regularly trolls on sites like Craigslist and Backpage but new tactics are surfacing.

In the early stings in Polk, Osceola, Seminole and Lee County the police posted ads in the adult sites, certifying they were adults and then after engaging men in chat casually mentioned that they were a minor.  I have successfully defended many of those cases on entrapment.  In the last year, there has been a different approach used.  The police post a profile on a social medial sight.  It does not mention sex and the profile clearly states that the person is over eighteen years of age.  They get normal people sucked into casual banter and then after getting their curiosity aroused the then say “Oh by the way, I lied, I am really 15”.  Many men get drawn into this type of situation with this entrapment technique.  Lately the police have targeted other hookup sites and seem to have focused on men seeking a casual encounter with a man.  The truth is that gay men are being targeted, unfairly.  Winning a case where there is a “men for men” profile or post is more difficult that the typical case.  In the recent 2014 Ft. Lauderdale Sex sting, the police targeted the hookup applications on smartphones that match up consenting adults looking for sex.

The key to winning sex sting cases is showing that it is the police doing the luring and seducing.  In most of the cases, that is true.  Law enforcement is supposed to follow ICAC procedural guidelines and most of the time they don’t.  They are not supposed to send photographs of minors but they do.  They are not supposed to invite the person to travel, but they do.  They are supposed to let the suspect set the tone and pace but they don’t.  I have handled thirteen of these traveler cases as a sex sting defense attorney in the last two years and have quite a few cases pending now.  There is hope.  If you have a good entrapment defense and an experienced sex crime lawyer, you may have a good case for trial.  In many cases, when I raised good issues I was able to get the prosecutor to offer a non sex crime offense as a compromise plea bargain.

The goal is to stay out of State prison, not become a registered sex offender, not be on sex offender probation and if possible not become a convicted felon.  Every case is different.

If you or a loved one have been charged with traveling to meet a minor or Internet Solicitation of a minor call for a confidential consultation at 941 366 3506

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