Local police officers posing as teenagers on a popular dating app recently arrested four men in St. Petersburg on various charges, alleging they had attempted to arrange sexual contact with what they believed were minors.
The men were arrested after communicating with undercover officers through Grindr, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department. They were charged with a range of crimes, from promotion of a sexual performance by a child to computer sex crimes, prostitution, trafficking and child neglect.
One man allegedly tried to entice what he believed to be a 14-year-old boy to send him lurid photos online, according to the police. Another allegedly left three small children at home alone in order to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl for sex at a motel.
The four men did not appear to know each other, but were swept up as part of the same undercover sting operation.
Online dating and sex apps like Grindr and others are a hot spot for potential predators, law enforcement officers say. Cops often use the apps to lure in sex offenders by posing as underage children.
Last year, police officers in Sarasota County arrested 25 men who they say used dating apps to try to arrange sex with minors.
These busts can raise difficult legal questions, including accusations of entrapment by people who are arrested. Florida law generally bans cops from trying to induce someone into committing a crime in situations where that person would not have otherwise engaged in the criminal offense.
A person arguing that he or she was entrapped generally has to prove that a police officer encouraged the person to commit a crime in a way that substantially increased the chances it would occur. You also have to show that you were not predisposed to commit the crime anyway.
The entrapment defense often comes with a number of legal and factual issues based on the specific circumstances of the situation. That’s why it is important to consult a Tampa sex crimes attorney.
If you or a loved one has been charged with—or is even suspected of—a sex crime in Florida, it’s vital that you seek the assistance of a seasoned Tampa sex crimes attorney.
A lawyer can help build the strongest possible defense in the case. The earlier that you seek legal advice, the better chance you have of avoiding a conviction or reducing the charges.
At Whittel & Melton, we represent clients throughout the Sunshine State who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses, including sexual assault, rape and child pornography. Our attorneys work tirelessly to fight these charges head on.
We have offices throughout the state, including in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Pensacola. Contact us online or call (866) 608-5529 for a free evaluation.
My experience with Whittel and Melton was above reproach. They are extremely professional and I deathly recommend them any legal situation Sarah Maille
Send us an email using the form below.
Boca Raton Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
3700 Airport Rd., Suite 401
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Naples Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2390 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 102
Naples, FL 34103
Tampa/St. Petersburg Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
200 Central Ave., Suite 400
Tampa, FL 33629
Spring Hill Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
11020 Northcliffe Blvd
Spring Hill, FL 34608
Gainesville Consultation Location:Whittel & Melton, LLC
2441 NW 43rd Street
Gainesville, FL 32606
Toll Free Florida Statewide:Whittel & Melton, LLC
The information on this Florida Sex Crimes Attorneys & Lawyers / Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.