14 Arrested in Lake County Online Sex Sting
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has arrested 14 people as a result of a recent sex sting. The weeklong operation involved detectives posing as children, between the ages of 13 and 15, online. Acting as potential prey, detectives arranged to meet with the suspects in the Golden Triangle area with the intention of having sex.
Investigators reported that three vehicles were seized, while one man was arrested at his home. The charges for the men arrested range from transmission of harmful material to a minor, up to traveling to meet a minor for sexual activity. One of the men arrested was an Orange County middle school teacher last year, while another man was a cook at Universal Studios.
Investigators and law enforcement officials believe these type of sex sting operations are highly successful and as a result, have continued to pursue arrests through online sex stings. However, It’s important to remember the line between good investigation and entrapment.
Was the Lake County Sex Sting Operation an Illegal Form of Entrapment?
The answer depends on several factors associated with the bust. Sex stings are legal in Florida, as long as the idea to commit the crime began in the mind of the accused, not in the mind of the investigator. Otherwise, the actions that resulted in the arrest could be considered entrapment.
As an Orlando sex crime defense firm, we have handled several cases where the entrapment defense applied. In these cases, the officer used overt and persuasive tactics to encourage our client to engage in the online solicitation of a minor.
Establishing Entrapment in Florida
Under Florida law, entrapment can be argued if the following occurred:
1. Law enforcement encouraged the defendant to commit a crime in order to gain evidence; And
2. The defendant committed the crime as a result of the encouragement; And
3. The persons who persuaded the defendant to commit the crime were law enforcement officials or confidential informants working with law enforcement; And
4. The methods used to encourage the criminal act created a significant risk that the crime would take place by the defendant, who was otherwise not intending on committing the crime; And
5. The defendant was someone who was otherwise not inclined to commit the crime.
When the entrapment defense is used, the defendant must show the jury that they were motivated by law enforcement to commit the crime. With the help of an attorney, this can easily be done by proving to the jurors that an undercover officer or confidential informant facilitated the crime
Contact a Sex Crimes Attorney Today
Our attorneys combine for over 40 years of experience and can help develop a custom tailored defense for your case. Contact The Umansky Law Firm today and find out how we can help you.