July 27, 2012
Whittel & Melton 352-264-7800 – Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys
Law enforcement officials working in sex crimes say that Internet solicitation crimes involving minors are a budding epidemic. However, it’s hard to determine whether the rise in arrests for computer sex crimes is due to a surge in alleged sexual predators or due to the undercover sex traps that are conducted to find them. Police efforts to catch so-called child predators often entail luring suspects into making plans in person. Some undercover officers go as far as to suggest illegal activity as a means of tricking a suspect into engaging in certain behaviors they may not have been involved in otherwise.
Just recently a Gainesville man was arrested in an undercover Internet sex sting targeting suspected child sex predators.
A 38-year-old registered sex offender was the seventh man arrested Monday evening by the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement in an undercover Internet sex sting dubbed Operation Tailspin.
The Archer man was arrested shortly before 5:30 p.m. and charged with three felonies — using a two-way communications device to facilitate a felony, traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child and using a computer to seduce, solicit or lure a child.
Six other men were arrested during the undercover sex sting that started Wednesday and ended Monday morning.
The man is accused of responding to an e-commerce site or social media site where an adult man apparently indicated he was looking to arrange a sexual encounter for his 14-year-old girlfriend. According to an arrest report, the man communicated with an undercover Alachua County police officer on the phone, through online messages and text messages where he made arrangements for a meeting.
The man allegedly traveled to the meeting place and asked the girl to come outside. He was then arrested.
The arresting officer claims the man admitted he believed he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl and that he had no intentions of forcing her to have sex against her will.
He was booked into the Alachua County jail, where he remained as of Tuesday on a $100,000 bond.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, he has served two prison terms for attempted sexual battery of a victim younger than 12. He was last released from prison in November 2010.
Local law enforcement agencies are constantly working on new ways to conduct Internet sting operations that far too often result in the arrest of innocent people. These undercover Internet sex traps typically result in felony charges carrying life-altering consequences, including lengthy prison sentences and mandatory lifetime registration on the Florida sex offender registry.
The Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand the methods used by undercover agents in order to entice adults into partaking in illegal behavior. The consequences can be devastating, not only to the accused but to friends and family members as well.
If you or someone you care for has been charged with a sex offense in conjunction with an Internet sex sting, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call our Gainesville office at 352-264-7800 or dial us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).