A 36-year-old six-year veteran of the East Naples Fire Department and a Golden Gates Estates, Florida man are accused of arranging to have sex with an undercover deputy posing as a 14-year-old minor girl.
The firefighter has been placed on administrative leave without pay following his arrest Thursday in Hardee County on charges of soliciting a minor and traveling to meet a minor.
He allegedly arranged to meet with the mother of a 14-year-old girl in Hardee County to discuss having sex with both of them. He supposedly circled a home where he was to meet the mother daughter pair several times before he was arrested.
Police claim the man had condoms on him at the time of his arrest.
Another defendant, from Golden Gates Estates, was also arrested Saturday after allegedly traveling to a location where he was expecting to meet a woman arranging sex for him with a 14-year-old girl. According to a Collier County Sheriff’s Office report, the man responded to a Craigslist ad and supposedly arranged a meeting with what was actually an Osceola County detective.
Both men were arrested as part of an online child predator and prostitution sting that yielded 12 arrests last week.
According to Naples Daily News, the firefighter was released from jail on $5,000 bond Friday, while the Estates man remained in the Collier County jail Monday night.
Internet sex stings have been put in place by undercover officials in the hopes of catching supposed criminals looking for sex with a child. In these undercover schemes, law enforcement officials usually create a fictitious child to use as bait to lure unsuspecting people into a trap. With the spotlight flashed on alleged sexual crimes via the Internet through shows like Dateline NBC’s “To Catch A Predator,” the public is quick to come to the conclusion that anyone involved in an undercover police sex sting is automatically guilty of being a sexual predator. However, these fabricated scenarios portray individuals as sexual deviants before it is even evaluated as to whether their behavior could be the result of police entrapment. By consulting with a Florida Computer Sex Sting Defense Attorney, we may be able to show that you were unlawfully entrapped by an undercover detective masquerading as a minor or parent or guardian of a juvenile via the web.
The punishment for the crime of Traveling to Meet a Minor can be overwhelmingly harsh. The state of Florida classifies this crime as a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years of prison and a $10,000.00 fine. There is a statutory minimum sentence for this crime, which is 21 months behind bars. In addition to any potential sentence, a person found guilty of this crime will be mandated by the law to register as a sexual offender, possibly for life.
At Whittel & Melton we know how difficult it can be to handle charges of such a sensitive nature. Our goal is to decrease the destructive consequences associated with charges related to Internet sex crimes and to attain the most positive outcome for your unique case.
If you are facing a computer sex crimes charge because of an undercover sex sting or online entrapment, contact the Florida Undercover Computer Sex Sting Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).
The staff was very attentive and answered all my questions regarding my criminal case. I was very pleased with the outcome and professionalism. Crystal Vasquez
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