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Orlando Sex Offense Law Blog

Florida police pose as minors online to trap alleged predators

When people log on to their computer or the Internet, many believe that they are doing so in the privacy of their home and behind a curtain of anonymity. People may engage in behaviors or say things online that they normally wouldn't do in person or when using their real name and information. 

However, people who are involved in illegal or unlawful activity online are unpleasantly surprised to learn that law enforcement agents may be monitoring their online exchanges. Police and federal authorities may even be encouraging or facilitating this behavior behind a disguise of their own in order to identify and arrest people who they believe are involved in misconduct such as Internet sex crimes. This is often the case when police pose as minors online.

Charges dismissed against man facing 8 felonies for sex crimes

Being under investigation for criminal misconduct in Florida can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Authorities will often look into phone records, speak to witnesses and seize items like computers and cameras in an attempt to determine whether there is enough evidence to arrest someone.

Even if someone is arrested after an investigation, however, it does not mean that he or she is guilty. In fact, it may be determined that an investigation was improperly conducted or that there are discrepancies in the accusations that must be scrutinized further. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, these discrepancies and procedural errors can be identified and any charges resulting from that arrest could be dropped. That is what happened recently for one man who was arrested on sexual assault charges after a police investigation.

Man arrested for failing to register Facebook account

The requirement to register as a sex offender in Florida can be a devastating to a person's family, career and reputation. It is a punishment that can affect someone's life long after they have served a sentence for sexual crime, and it can be very difficult to get past a serious mistake when a person is on this list.

Registering as a sex offender can require people to provide authorities with certain information on an ongoing basis, such as contact information when they move. If someone fails or forgets to notify authorities of these changes, he or she could be facing some additional penalties that can be very serious, even if the violation itself does not seem that serious. For example, one man in another state is now facing charges after he failed to notify authorities that he had a Facebook account.

Florida man arrested for attempt to have sex with minors abroad

People may be aware of how seriously sex offenses are taken in this country. We know that people accused of sexual misconduct can face extreme public scrutiny, aggressive prosecution and harsh penalties if convicted. However, the laws in other countries may not be as clearly defined or aggressively enforced. This can give people the mistaken belief that they will not face criminal penalties for engaging in unlawful sexual relationships abroad.

Ever since the Internet has become part of our everyday lives, it is easier than ever for people to make contact with people in other countries, including minors. Those who choose to pursue a sexual relationship may think that they can travel to a different county that has different laws about the age of consent and not be in violation of the law. However, they could face some serious penalties when they return to the U.S.

Florida musician facing child pornography charges

Members of rock bands have long had reputations for being "bad." They may challenge authority, engage in dangerous behaviors or generally misbehave. However, whether a musician fits these criteria or not does not change the fact that they are just like everyone else in the eyes of the law and they have the same rights as any other person. This includes the right to defend themselves against criminal charges.

Recently, the now-former guitarist for rock band New Found Glory found himself in this situation after he was charged with serious criminal offenses. According to reports, the Florida rocker is accused of possessing child pornography, lewd contact with a minor and intent to commit a lewd act with a minor. The story has spread quickly, along with pieces of misinformation and unfounded rumors.

Proposed bill targets sex offenders in Florida who try to flee

People who have been convicted of a sex crime may face some of the most difficult challenges of any criminal offender after they have completed their sentences. Unlike people convicted of drug offenses, theft or even violent crimes, men and women convicted of sexual misconduct often are required to register as a sex offender; and they may be required to do so for the rest of their lives.

The requirement to register as a sex offender in Florida can be devastating to a person's reputation and family. It can affect where a person lives and what kind job they can find, and being a registered sex offender can make it nearly impossible to re-engage in a community. This can be the case whether people have been convicted of possessing child pornography or they had a consensual relationship with a minor just a year or two younger than they were. The consequences of a conviction can follow a person around for the rest of his or her life, and if a bill that was recently proposed is passed in Florida, these consequences could get even worse for people who try to escape the situation.

Teenage boy wrongly jailed for alleged sex crime

Readers of this criminal defense blog about sex crimes know that a suspect still has rights after an arrest. First and foremost, an accused has the right to request legal representation. Having an attorney present may help prevent violations of a criminal defendant’s procedural and constitutional rights.

However, one Florida youth spent 35 days in jail before the police mistakes resulting in his wrongful arrest came to light. Apparently, the Clay County officers who were investigating an alleged sexual assault against a minor may have been too invested in the alleged victim’s account to follow proper protocols. 

Sex crimes and the Internet

Readers may have heard about a recent sting operation by Florida authorities. There may be several reasons why the incident was so newsworthy. The arrest was large-scale, involving 22 individuals. However, other media coverage seemed to focus on the employment of three of arrested individuals: They are allegedly Walt Disney World employees.

The arrest reflected the collaborative efforts of several Florida agencies, including the Lake County sheriff’s cybercrimes unit. Undercover detectives posed either as children or as parents in different chat forums. When communication was established with an individual suspected of seeking sex with a minor, the undercover detectives encouraged the suspect to meet them in person at a designated meeting place. Of course, authorities were waiting at that location, and the suspect was arrested as soon as he or she arrived.

Physical evidence and sex crimes

Sex crimes in the current prosecutorial environment may never involve physical evidence.

For example, undercover officers may initiate online conversations with unsuspecting individuals, perhaps paving the way for charges for an Internet Sex crime. In the case of child pornography, the alleged illegal content may exist only in electronic form, perhaps only an accused’s hard drive. 

Orlando man accused of sexually abusing children

Being accused of a sex crime involving a child is something that no one should take lightly. In general, the public casts harsh judgement on those simply accused of such crimes. For this reason, prosecutors are under immense pressure to obtain convictions in child sexual abuse cases. When facing such charges, however, it is important to remember that, in this country, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.

Recently, police arrested a 51-year-old Orlando man for the sexual abuse of multiple children. Police say that at least three children described experiences with the man in which he touched them, or attempted to touch them, in an inappropriate way.

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