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Craigslist ad for sex leads to wrongful arrest

A 2011 child-sex sting in Orange County didn’t quite go as planned, despite netting 50 arrests. In fact, for one man, a father of four and a federal corrections officer, it didn’t turn out as he hoped at all.

The man responded to an ad soliciting sex and agreed to meet the woman he had been communicating with. However, to his surprise, he was met by a team of undercover officers instead. According to the man, he had no idea that the offer for sex included anything about meeting up with a minor. Eventually, a state judge threw out the case. However, the man’s experience has lead to a recent filing alleging unlawful arrest and civil-rights violations.

The issue being raised by several groups fighting to reform Florida’s current sex-offender laws, is that such a law enforcement sting is based on entrapment, a defense that many judges do not uphold. By the U.S. Department of Justice’s definition,"entrapment happens when the government induces someone to commit a crime and the suspect wasn’t predisposed to that behavior;" something that can be avoided completely if undercover officers simply wait for the suspect to engage in the illegal activity first, says SVU detective from Orlando.

The man previously mentioned in this post, was never clearly informed that the individual he would be meeting with for sex was a minor. In fact, during a previous online conversation with the undercover officer, he made it perfectly clear that he was only interested in sex with an adult.

Being accused of a crime can lead to long-term problems, even if the individual is never found guilty. With today’s Internet-based world, a simple accusation, such as a sex crime, never goes away and can impact the accused person’s chance for job opportunities, in addition to numerous other issues. Contacting an attorney right away after an arrest, can help mitigate the potential damages caused by a false arrest.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Sex-sting arrest prompts suit against Sheriff’s Office,” Elyssa Cherney, Nov. 6, 2015

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