Florida Sex Crimes Sting Nabs 38, Including Local EMS Leader
“Operation Watchdog” swept up alleged sex offenders accused of crimes like traveling to meet a minor for sex, possession of child pornography and failing to register with local authorities. The sting operation was a joint effort by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Homeland Security Department and the U.S. Marshal’s Office, according to various news reports.
A Bay County EMS captain was among those arrested in the operation. The man was charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of his case, according to the Panama City News Herald.
The operation reportedly centered on monitoring online chats and social media accounts through services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp.
“During these times of COVID-19, children are spending more time than ever online,” Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford said in a statement announcing the arrests. “It is vitally important we remain increasingly vigilant and monitor the online activities of those that stalk our children online.”Florida Cops Crack Down on Sex Offenses
The Panhandle busts are just the latest example of how seriously law enforcement across the state takes sex crimes.
These offenses come with serious potential consequences, including steep money penalties and long stretches behind bars. That is not to mention having a criminal record and being required to register as a sex offender, which can alienate you from friends and family and make it harder to find and keep a job.
That is why it is essential that anyone who is suspected of or who has been charged with a sex crime in Florida seek the advice of an experienced Florida sex crimes lawyer. A lawyer will help you understand the charges against you and weigh your rights and options, including exploring a wide range of possible defenses.Speak with a Florida Sex Crimes Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been charged with—or is even suspected of—a sex crime in Florida, you need to have a Florida sex crimes lawyer in your corner.
A lawyer can help build the strongest possible defense in the case, including exploring how police officers conducted their investigations and obtained any evidence against you. 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.
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.