Operation Spider Web strikes again. On October 30th Orange County Sherriff’s Office arrested 30 men who showed up to a bait house allegedly looking to have sex with minors. The suspects went online and met undercover officers who were posing as minors looking for sex. Officials went as far as to pretend to be mothers who want to “teach” their young daughters about sex. The men would respond to adds on Craigslist and later travel to the decoy house where the arrests were made and videotaped.
The sting lasted just one week and the suspects range in age from 18 to 59. A similar operation was done one year ago which resulted in 50 arrests. Many of those cases are just now finishing up in the court system.
Someone who is charged with this type of crime will usually face mandatory prison time of at least five (5) years or more. The Orange/Osceola State Attorney’s office has a policy of not negotiating plea deals of less time. They take a hard line against this type of offender, even if the person has no prior criminal record.
In addition to prison time, someone convicted of this crime will be labeled a sex offender for the rest of their life. There are several requirements and restrictions for sex offenders. Violating these conditions can lead to additional criminal charges.
Defenses for this type of charge do exist. Someone who is not previously inclined to commit this type of act may have an entrapment defense. For entrapment to apply, one would have to show that the suspect was not “predisposed” to commit the crime and that law enforcement encouraged them. Entrapment would not apply to someone who was ready to do the act if the opportunity presented itself.
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