Traveling to Meet a Child Bust
Operation Cyber Child III concluded on Monday, June 30th, and yielded some considerable results for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. 16 men were arrested as a result of the undercover operation focusing on adults travelling to meet minors to engage in sexual activity as well as adults who possess child pornography.
Of the 16 men that were arrested, 13 were arrested for travelling to meet a minor (in addition to other charges) while the remaining 3 were arrested for possession of child pornography. The 3 child pornography arrests were a result of search warrants executed on June 18th at 3 homes in Polk County. Of the remaining 13 arrests, 5 of the men resided in Polk County, 2 resided in Orange County (Orlando and Winter Park), 2 resided in Osceola County (Kissimmee and Celebration), and the remaining 4 resided in counties throughout Florida (with 1 from Texas).
Possession of child pornography is a 3rd degree felony punishably by up to 5 years in prison per count. It’s important to realize that an individual with 10 different images on their computer could be charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography. Considering the maximum penalty is 5 years per count, an individual in the example above could find themselves looking at 50 years in prison. Travelling to meet a minor is a 2nd degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If there was also the promise of monetary exchange, an individual could additionally find themselves looking at prostitution charges.
It’s very important to understand that if convicted of either of these charges, that individual must register as a sexual offender. This classification will stick with a person and can often be the most debilitating part of the penalty. Even after an individual has served their time, a classification as a sexual offender can make it very difficult, if not impossible, to incorporate themselves back into society. This is why it is crucial that anyone facing these serious charges seek the advice of an experienced attorney that can help them with the case at bar all the while understanding what kind of an impact a plea can have on the rest of their life.