In a post several months ago, we discussed what the term “entrapment” means in the context of sexual misconduct online. In that blog post, which can be read in full here, we explained that entrapment is a defense that can be used when a person who would otherwise not engage in an illegal act does so, but only because of efforts made by law enforcement agents.
In addition to understanding entrapment, it can also be helpful to understand why law enforcement agencies may be motivated to pursue alleged criminals in this manner if you have recently been accused of such misconduct.
In recent years, there have been massive efforts launched to stop online predators. TV shows, news outlets and other parties have taken quite an interest in this particular situation, and often pose as underage boys and girls online to try and lure alleged predators into a sexual exchange. When caught on video, these efforts can pay off in ratings and website views.
In addition to the motivation of creating sensational news stories, there may also be a financial motivation for pursuing sex sting operations. State and federal law enforcement agencies can be given access to huge sums of money in grants to pursue online sex offenders, and they want these funds and their efforts to pay off in the form of arrests.
There is also the argument that police may be motivated by the potential to seize property in these arrests. According to asset forfeiture laws in Florida, police can confiscate any money or property believed to be used in the commission of a crime. This could include a person’s car, computer or money, much of which can often be kept by the arresting agency.
Of course there is also the motivation to protect young people, but not all operations are driven purely by good intentions. Because of this, agencies may be more inclined to bend or break the rules to get a positive outcome.
Considering how motivated law enforcement agents are to arrest and charge people accused of misconduct online, it can be crucial to be aggressive in your defense of these charges should you find yourself in this situation. Protecting yourself and your rights with the help of an attorney can prove to be vital.
Source: Reason.com, “To Catch a Non-Predator, Try Entrapment,” Lenore Skenazy, Jan. 12, 2015