Lessons learned from a sex crime sting operation

On behalf of Maynard & Sumner, LLC posted in Sex Crimes on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.

Yesterday we began a discussion about the ways in which citizens can learn about their rights and responsibilities under the law by observing the approaches taken by law enforcement. One journalist recently observed a sex crime sting operation from within local law enforcement headquarters in order to do just that. By better understanding the law and its predictabilities, citizens can remain informed about what consequences their actions might lead to.

With regards to sex crimes, the law can be quite tricky. Some consensual sexual activity is actually considered criminal, and infractions involving vulnerable populations can be particularly difficult to navigate in terms of legality. When one Wisconsin journalist recently attempted to navigate the system from the perspective of law enforcement, she learned just how complex the area of alleged sex crimes can be.

During this particular sting operation, law enforcement attempted to root out potentially illegal activity by enlisting undercover agents to pose as teens willing to engage in sexual activity. Law enforcement targeted numerous suspected sexual predators by posting ads on Craigslist intended to spark the interest of individuals seeking sexual encounters with teens.

Obviously, choosing to engage in any sexual activity with a teen is a poor choice, simply because the law surrounding this vulnerable population is so complex. In certain jurisdictions, any sexual contact with an underage person is illegal. In others, the suspect behavior is a matter of degrees.

But by delving into how law enforcement approaches these cases, the journalist and her readers were better able to understand just how complex the system is and how easy it is to be ensnared in a sex crime sting operation.

American criminal law is complex and hard to navigate. Thus, it is critical that you remain informed about your rights and responsibilities under it. If you are concerned that a given activity may be illegal, please consult an experienced criminal defense attorney before making the decision to move forward. That action alone may spare you significant consequences down the road.

Source: Green Bay Press Gazette, “Casual Encounters: An inside look at the Internet child sex crime investigation that led to 17 arrests around Wisconsin,” Samantha Hernandez, Mar. 19, 2013

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