Osceola Sex Sting
SEX STING IN OSCEOLA COUNTY RESULTS IN 28 ARRESTS
28 people were arrested in a sex sting operation in Osceola County this past weekend. According to various news sources around Central Florida, a teacher, a former navy pilot, a businessman from overseas and a woman were arrested along with 24 other people for crimes ranging from Traveling to meet or seduce a Minor for sex, attempted lewd or lascivious battery, use of a computer to solicit a minor for sex and attempted sexual battery. The police have been asking for incredibly high bonds on these cases. For instance, some clients have reported a bond as high as 25,000.00 to 30,000 dollars per charge.
DATING SITES BECOME THE SITE OF THE STING
The sting was set up and worked by a multitude of agencies including FDLE, Orange, Citrus and Lake county Sherif’s departments along with the Kissimmee police. Undercover detectives posed as minors or adults who had minors interested in meeting other men for sex. The police used dating sites such as datehookup.com, PlentyofFish.com, Craigslist and Backpage among others to encounter these defendants who engaged in online chats that ultimately resulted in 28 individuals being arrested.
THE POLICE PROVIDED VIDEO OF THESE DEFENDANTS TO MEDIA OUTLETS. IS THAT FAIR?
The police provided video of some defendants allegedly making confessions to media outlets that were played on the nightly news last night. Is that fair? While the media has a first amendment right to air these ‘interviews’ with police, the broadcasts can potentially taint the public against the accused even before they go to a trial. In some cases, the media played only portions of the videotaped interviews that may not show the entire context of the conversation between the arrested individual and the police. I can not tell you how many times the media will play a portion of the video that only shows half the story and it is not until the entire video is played for the jury, where the true picture of the events come to light.
TYPES OF SENTENCES THE ARRESTED FACE
The State Attorney in Osceola County pursues these cases very hard and typical initial offers on many of these cases are prison time and lifetime designation as a sex offender. Criminal attorneys who handle these cases are in for an uphill battle with the Judge, Jury and Prosecutor who hear, decide or prosecute these cases. Defenses to the charges above include entrapment, fantasy play, lack of intent to commit the crime alleged. In order to properly assess the strength or weakness of the State’s case against the accused, lawyers have to examine the online chat, texts or emails that were allegedly sent back and forth from the defendant and the undercover police operative to examine if there are any issues of entrapment among other issues. Further, depositions are the norm, as attorneys for the accused will want to question law enforcement under oath to see if there were any violations of the law including Miranda, lack of probable cause, or any other search and seizure issue that may come up. It is wise for people arrested for travel to meet a minor, to sit down and discuss their cases very early on with a lawyer as there may be defenses that can or should be raised immediately.