In the United States, the fastest growing criminal prosecutions of all time involve Internet sex crimes, and law enforcement’s number one tactic for finding those suspected of committing acts including soliciting minors and the viewing, downloading, possession, and distribution of child pornography. Every day, state and other federal law enforcement agencies actively use the Internet to find people to arrest on solicitation or child pornography charges.
The Justice Department just released a report that nearly 1,700 people have been arrested following a two-month crackdown aimed at targeting suspected child predators.
This recent announcement caps the nationwide investigation conducted by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies around the U.S.
Prosecutors said they identified more than 300 people suspected of producing child pornography or committing sexual abuse involving children.
The investigation, nicknamed “Broken Heart,” was conducted in April and May. Officials said they investigated more than 18,500 complaints of crimes against children.
Officials say the crackdown targeted suspects who produced or possessed child pornography, who tried to entice children online for sex, traveled to other states or countries to abuse children or engaged in sex trafficking.
Computer sex stings are conducted on a regular basis in Florida, and everywhere else across the United States. Police gear these operations toward finding any individuals who are looking to enagage in sexual acts with minors or who possess or distribute digital media of children engaged in sexual acts. Law enforcement use any means necessary to catch “suspected predators,” including the Internet, online chat rooms, computer downloads, file sharing, storage and other manipulative tactics.
In the state of Florida, the law is quite clear. If you participated in a sexually suggestive conversation with a minor online, even if the person you communicated with online was an adult, but you believed he or she was a minor, then you are considered guilty of Internet solicitation. A conviction for this sex offense brings about serious penalties, which may include significant prison terms and mandatory sex offender registration.
Many people caught up in these unfortunate sex stings feel that they have no choice but to plead guilty. That is simply not the case. When police officers go too far in their attempts to create an opportunity to make an arrest, this is called entrapment. If it can be determined that you were in fact entrapped by law enforcement, then the charges against you would be dismissed. Likewise, your charges can also be reduced or dismissed when there is no reliable evidence or when any evidence against you was obtained in an unlawful manner that infringed upon your constitutional rights.
You are innocent until proven guilty, regardless of the aggressive and leading tactics of law enforcement and prosecutors. You should never feel pressured into confessing to a sex crime that you did not commit. Our Florida Internet Solicitation and Computer Sting Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are familiar with how police conduct their online sex stings. We work with expert forensic computer analysts to thoroughly review the facts of your case and fight for your rights.
There are instances where people are guilty of Internet solicitation or possessing or distributing child porn. It happens. People make mistakes. The consequences can be harsh, as we have noted previously. However, by working with us, we can negotiate on your behalf to get the charges reduced and/or the punishments reduced. We can work with the State to identify a serious person issue you may be having and work towards securing you a treatment program as opposed to serving time in Federal prison. You need an attorney when you are guilty of committing a sex crime just as much as when you have been falsey accused of one.
As with all sex crimes accusations, there is little public sympathy toward those accused of possessing child pornography or soliciting a minor, even if they have been wrongly accused. Expect that everyone will assume you are guilty. You will likely lose friends and family following these serious accusations. We can be the supportive advocate you need on your side, and we will do all that is possible to make certain that you get a fair trial and the best possible outcome for your unique situation.
When you retain our services, we will carefully scour the prosecution’s evidence against you. We will perform our own detailed analysis of the computer records in question. From there, we can mount the strongest defense strategy based on the evidence available.
This firm was extremely helpful and courteous to deal with. I did not expect to need their services, but was fortunate to find such a great firm. Thank you for your services. Emily Stafford
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