Whittel & Melton, LLC 1-866-608-5LAW (5529) – Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys
A 39-year-old former luxury suite coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was found guilty of arranging to have sex with a child Thursday. He was arrested last summer in a vacant Clermont home stemming from an undercover sex sting operation in Lake County.
The man faces 10 years in prison after being convicted of traveling to coerce a 14-year-old girl into having sex. His sentencing will apparently take place in June.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the man participated in a conversation with what he thought was a minor and her guardian, when he allegedly arranged to travel 90 miles to have sex with the child. Once the man arrived at the home, undercover detectives arrested him.
The man and 32 other men were arrested as a part of the undercover sex trap dubbed “Operation Summer Nights.” According to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the men were arrested after traveling long distances to have sex with what they presumed to be a child. Some of these men allegedly brought along candy and one man apparently brought his two young children with him.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement apparently took part in the undercover sting in a nationwide effort to fight child abuse and exploitation.
The state of Florida criminalizes various conduct conducted over the Internet that is geared towards children. Live chats, messages and e-mails that involve communications with children under the age of 18 years of age can result in felony charges if the conversation hints at sex or any sexually explicit behavior. Law enforcement agencies will regularly stage undercover sting operations in an effort to catch individuals that appear to be interested in engaging in sexual acts with children.
Typically, these types of Internet sex traps entail an undercover officer posing as a young girl or boy in an on-line chat room. Sometimes officers will even take the trap as far as pretending to be a child’s parent or relative. In some instances, these chats will develop further and undercover officers will bait unsuspecting individuals into sexual discussions. Officers will often try and further the conversations to progress to the sending of obscene photographs or other explicit content. Finally, undercover detectives will try and get the individual to agree to meet at a specific setting. If the person takes the bait and travels to the meeting point, a team of law enforcement officers will be waiting ready to make an arrest.
Traveling to meet a minor is a second degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000. Additionally, any person convicted of this crime will face mandatory registration as a sex offender which can place various limitations on all aspects of your life in the future. Furthermore, any individual that travels across state or county lines to meet a minor for sexual motives could be subject to charges in multiple jurisdictions.
If you have been accused of or charged with traveling to meet a minor anywhere in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys immediately online or reach us statewide and toll-free by dialing 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).
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