Florida Sheriff's Association Declares War on Cyber Sex Predators

n honor of Florida Missing Children’s Day, the Florida Sheriff’s Association announced on Sept. 13 its plans to target the online sex predator epidemic by sharing its nearly year-old Cyber Sexual Predator Initiative with any Florida law enforcement organizations that wish to implement similar programs.

The FSA’s approach to target cyber sex predators has resulted in 177 arrests in sting operations across several central Florida counties, including 54 arrests in Lake and Sumter counties and two local arrests in undercover stings in Volusia and Citrus counties.

The FSA Cyber Sexual Predator Initiative is led by the Citrus County Sheriff, who launched the very first operation in October 2010. The undercover sting, dubbed “Operation Grim Reaper” yielded 22 arrests after 700 hours of logged chat time online. This sting included the arrest of a 37-year-old youth minister from Bushnell, Florida.

A few of the FSA Cyber Sexual Predator Initiative’s include Operation Summer Nights, Operation STARCOP, Operation Cyber Guardian, and Operation Sheepdog.

Initiatives like these in the state of Florida have netted numerous arrests and a lot of sex stings being reported in the news recently. Law enforcement authorities at the state, local and federal levels conduct Internet sex sting operations as a response to public concern about sexual predators using the Internet. Likewise, law enforcements urge to unleash a war on so-called cyber terrors is further fueled by widespread media exposure and the pressures placed on prosecutors to get a conviction for those arrested for illegal Internet activity involving minors.

Government agencies as well as local police have become quite skilled in devising Internet sting operations that often trap innocent people. These undercover sex traps can lead to serious felony charges that could mean a lengthy prison sentence and mandatory lifetime registration on the Florida sex offender registry, among other life shattering consequences. Certain charges that arise from cyber sex traps include possessing or promoting a sexual performance by a child, exposing indecent material to a child, luring a child, possession or transmission of child pornography and Internet solicitation.

Due to the severity of charges associated with Internet sex traps, resourceful legal representation is a must. Defenses for those charged with offenses related to an Internet sting operation require widespread knowledge of civil rights in conjunction with a strong background in uncovering false allegations and blunders by law enforcement personnel. The statewide Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can review the facts of your case and develop winning strategies to help mitigate your circumstances. By contacting the aggressive Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys, you can take the first step towards combatting criminal charges that could affect your life permanently.

If you have been charged with a sex crime offense related to an Internet sting operation in Central Florida or throughout the state, contact the Florida Sex Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online 24/7 or dial our Lake and Sumter County office at 352-793-9330 or call us in Citrus County at 352-726-0078 or reach us statewide and toll-free at 866-608-5529.

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