Florida 2015 Internet Sex Sting views by attorney Peter
There was, and probably still is, a sex sting running in Pinellas County. At least ten men have been arrested so far and charged with traveling to meet a minor or solicitation of a minor. Most of the men arrested are young, but in this sting many of them are black, instead of the typically all white defendants. This probably means the police targeted black hookup dating sites. It is very unusual to see a large number of black men arrested in these type of stings. The police in the past have targeted gays and military men but in this one, it seems they targeted Afro-Americans. The arrests will probably continue over the next several days. Often the police go back and arrest people who chatted but did not travel under the theory they instead solicited a minor with dirty texts or chat.
It will be interested to see the details of the arrests. Typically, there is a big press conference where the Sheriff, the FDLE and the police departments involved claim they are making the County safe from sexual predators. In my experience in handling dozens of these cases, the facts prove just the opposite. The police generally pose as an adult. I suspect in this case, the police made the initial contact with most of the defendants targeting adults who had profiles on the various dating sites like “Plenty of Fish” or the date hookup sites. It is not unusual to see the police establish contact with a “wink” and then claim to be 14 or 15 years old. As a sex crime lawyer, I think it is fundamentally unfair and a form of entrapment for the police to initiate contact with an adult looking for another adult and then try and lead them into a cyber conversation with a detective posing as a minor. A much better use of police resources would be for them to try and keep kids, real kids, off the Internet. Lecturing in middle schools would be a good start. Giving lectures at PTA meetings would be a better use of police resources.
My name is Peter D. Aiken, a criminal defense lawyer, and I blog all the time telling men not to interact with minors on the Internet. Sex with someone underage will most of the time get you arrested and is just not worth it. The best way to avoid getting arrested is to not commit a crime. Don’t even think about hooking up with someone underage. If you are on a hookup site, demand absolute proof of age. To be safe, you should not even think about hooking up with anyone under 21. That gives you a few years just to be safe. Just because a person is arrested for a sex crime does not mean they are guilty.
related Pinellas sex sting news clips where attorney Peter Aiken is referenced:
Related Pinellas County 2016 Sex Sting video: