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Online solicitation of a minor leads to arrests across U.S.

There is no way to know every person online who crosses the boundary of a sexual offense. Police sometimes set up stings to locate sexual offenders in Maryland and other states, but that doesn't always work in their favor either. If you've been accused of sexual offenses that you haven't committed or were set up for an arrest prior to taking part in an offense, you do have the right to defend yourself against unfair charges.

Consider this report from May 23; it covers a sting that took place in Florida where three deputies waited for a 20-year-old Maryland resident who had answered an advertisement on a dating site. The post was allegedly put up by the girl's guardian, but in reality, it was done by the police. After exchanging phone calls, text messages and emails, the Maryland-based man agreed to come to Florida to meet the pair.

It was 1:15 a.m. on July 21, 2012 when the man arrived at the house. He had only knocked at the door when police pulled him inside and arrested him. The police had trapped him through an undercover operation called Operation Tailspin. The operation is designed to catch Internet sex predators who are preying on children. That man was sentenced to prison in January 2013 despite never meeting the nonexistent child or her guardian.

The police claim that offenders are usually between 20 and 40 years old, and they typically have alleged victims ranging from 13 to 17 in age. That leaves a dangerous grey area for those aged in their early 20s and teens age 17, of course, but the law does not often leave an opening for that problem. The report claims that first-time offenders may be prosecuted for the solicitation of a minor online or traveling to meet them. If convicted, they can be required to register as a sex offender and receive time in prison.

Source: Gainsville.com, "Child-sex offenders: Who are they? How are they caught?" Chris Alcantara, May. 23, 2014

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