January 19, 2012
South Florida Sex Crimes Lawyers Whittel & Melton :: Palm Beach Police Accused of Using Offensive Sex Tactics to Make Arrests in Undercover Operation Targeting Gay Men in Parks
1-866-608-5LAW (5529) – Florida Sex Crime Attorneys
Two detectives with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office are accused of entrapping gay men in public parks throughout Palm Beach County, from Jupiter to Boca Raton in an undercover operation that apparently started sometime between 2005 to 2007 and lasted until 2010.
More than 600 arrests were made by the detectives that allegedly involved soliciting men for sex and then arresting them. More than half of the men arrested were between the ages of 45 and 70.
The detectives claim their job was to play the part of someone looking for sex. In many cases the detectives allegedly approached various men and drummed up conversations while keeping their hands in their pockets, pretending to fondle their genitals. In other instances, the officers would allegedly squat down and wait for another man to expose himself.
The undercover partners are accused of creating their own crimes. The detectives claim they were just doing their job.
Three men in particular, arrested for exposure of sexual organs and loitering in a public restroom, claim they may have been the victims of entrapment by overzealous cops. In fact, one man said he was not at the park looking for sex at all and the other two men assert they were approached by the detectives who made sexual advances at them.
All of the men elected to not push the issue and plead no contest to the charges.
According to the PBCSO, in 2005 Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation apparently notified PBSO about illegal sexual activity occurring in PBC restrooms and nature trails. The PBCSO began patrolling areas for illegal sexual activity after assistance was requested. The enforcement resulted in numerous arrests over the last few years in which those arrested were issued a “notice to appear” in court for the charge of Indecent Exposure.
However, the Director of PBC Parks and Recreation claims no request for assistance was made to PBSO regarding combatting illegal sexual activity.
The undercover operation has been stopped due to budget cuts in the county.
One of the detectives under scrutiny has been investigated before for unprofessional conduct and received a written reprimand.
Numerous undercover sex traps are staged to take place in public restrooms and parks. Sometimes the stings are set up in response to public complaints regarding alleged illegal behavior known as “cruising,” searching for a sexual liaison in a public setting. However, these undercover sex crackdowns often involve the issue of entrapment.
An arrest for indecent exposure, solicitation or loitering in Florida can often cause embarrassment, shame and fear. The social ramifications of these criminal charges are often serious and can jeopardize careers, friendships and personal relationships. It is understandable to want to make these charges disappear as quickly and quietly as possible, but when facing charges as a result of an undercover sex sting it is important to consult with a Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorney before making a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges.
Entrapment can be a legal defense to an indecent exposure, loitering or solicitation charge if it can be proved that any illegal activity took place as a result of police tactics that lured you into doing so. If it can be successfully established that you were entrapped, then the criminal charges against you will be dismissed. Entrapment can involve coercion, persuasion and possibly fraud. Decoy officers placed in undercover sex traps may partake in a slew of offensive behaviors as a means to persuade someone into committing an illegal sexual act. Officers may make eye contact, grab or rub their genitals, walk in and out of bathroom stalls and instigate sexual conversations in an attempt to trap an unsuspecting person into exposing sexual organs, soliciting a sexual act or masturbating in public. Regardless of the methods an undercover cop chooses to implement, it is important to contact the Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys immediately following your arrest. Even though indecent exposure and loitering are generally classified as misdemeanor offenses the consequences can include probation, fines, counseling, an order to stay away from the location and possibly jail time.
If you have been arrested for exposure of sexual organs, loitering or solicitation in an undercover police trap throughout the state of Florida, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or dial us toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).