In this case, it is unclear whether any of the men are repeat offenders. Sentences are typically harsher for defendants with a previous conviction or who confess to have engaged in previous offenses.
However, it is equally unclear whether mitigating factors should be considered for any of the accused men. For example, a defendant who accepts responsibility for his wrongdoing -- as the man did in this case -- may have a greater chance of rehabilitation, which can make a lesser sentence appropriate. Defendants with strong support networks, such as family members, job prospects, and other ties to the community, may also be better positioned to rejoin their communities as law-abiding citizens.
Any person charged with a crime has the right to an attorney, and the right to confront and cross-examine the witnesses presented by the prosecution. An experienced criminal defense attorney will require the prosecution to prove every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. An experienced criminal defense attorney will not only build your best defense, but also ensure that any mitigating factors are presented to the court.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, "Child-sex sting nets 31 men, including Iraq vet haunted by 'weird things,'" Arelis R. Hernández, Oct. 30, 2012