June 25, 2012
Whittel & Melton Orlando 1-866-608-5LAW (5529) – Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys
A 39-year-old former luxury suite manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been sentenced to just over 10 years in prison for arranging to have sex with a 14-year-old Clermont girl.
The man was one of 33 people arrested in an undercover sex sting last June called “Operation Summer Nights,” where detectives with the Tavares, FL Lake County Sheriff’s Office posed as children and parents of children in Internet chat rooms.
The man was indicted in September and was found guilty of traveling to coerce a 14-year-old girl into having sex in March. Sentencing guidelines called for a minimum of 10 years behind bars and a maximum term of life.
The man was sentenced to 10 years and one month.
According to testimony presented at trial, the man communicated with undercover investigators he believed to be a child and the child’s guardian. During these conversations with the “child,” the man apparently discussed graphic sexual acts and sent an explicit photo of himself.
According to U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill, the man drove 70 miles from Tampa to Clermont in hopes of having sex with the minor.
The operation was set up at a vacation rental home and the man was arrested immediately. Condoms were apparently found in his possession.
Few other charges are as serious as Internet sex crimes involving minors. Internet solicitation cases are generally charged under federal law and carry strict consequences. A conviction can result in lengthy prison sentences and lead to a lifetime of restrictions on where a person can live, work and with whom they can interact.
Most people charged with Internet sex crimes have never found themselves in trouble with the law. It probably never occurred to them that a law enforcement officer could be viewing their online conversations or monitoring pictures they sent through e-mail or cell phone messages. Unfortunately, those accused of Internet sex crimes stand to lose a great deal when convicted, even in cases where detectives impersonate a minor online and urge unsuspecting individuals into arranging a meeting under false pretenses.
The Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand the sensitive nature of Internet sex crimes charges. We understand that allegations alone can affect your life and damage your reputation. These cases tend to be very fact specific. As former prosecutors, we are fully aware of the tactics used in undercover sex stings that generally result in criminal charges. In order to convict a person of the charge, prosecutors need strong and convincing evidence, which is why we thoroughly examine every angle of the case for possible defense opportunities. At Whittel & Melton we work aggressively to make sure your rights are protected and to reduce the impact of charges when possible.
If you or someone you care for has been charged with a serious Florida Internet sex crime, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or call us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).