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Five arrested in online sex crime investigation in Broward County


A person who is arrested on a child sex charge in Florida faces potentially devastating consequences. If convicted, the possibility of prison time is very real. In addition to the legal penalties, the damage to reputation can make finding a job or an apartment after release from prison next to impossible. Five men in Broward County are facing these possibilities right now. They were arrested in connection with an internet sex sting operation in which detectives posed as teenage boys.

The investigation was run by a task force of the Broward County Sheriff's Department. According to authorities' allegations, the five men communicated online with investigators who were posing as teenage boys. In some cases, investigators claim they sent the men pictures of themselves when they were teenagers. The men allegedly went to meet with the people they thought they were chatting with online, and met detectives instead.

The five men, whose ages range from 25 through 34, face felony charges of traveling for the purpose of meeting minors for sexual purposes. Some of the men also face charges of online solicitation of children.

Entrapment can sometimes be raised as a defense in these kinds of sting operations. Entrapment occurs when police officers persuade a person to commit a crime they would not have been tempted to commit otherwise. It's a fine line: if the suspect is already inclined to commit the crime, and police simply give them the opportunity, there is no entrapment. Defense counsel will have to examine the internet chat records carefully to see what they reveal about the state of mind of the defendant, and whether the police used undue pressure to tempt the suspect to attempt the crime.

Source: Miami.cbslocal.com, "Undercover Child Sex Sting Nabs 5 In Broward County," Natalia Zea, March 21, 2014

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