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FL: Florida Cops Went to Absurd Lengths to Entrap Man Who Showed No Interest in Underage Sex

[reason.com – 10/21/19]

How do you catch a predator in Sarasota, Florida? You create one.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) is going to “outrageous lengths” to make law-abiding lonely guys into sex offenders. That’s according to Noah Pransky, a fearless journalist who has been covering Florida’s addiction to entrapment for years.

In September, SCSO arrested 23 men for allegedly soliciting underage girls for sex. Pransky’s most recent piece in Florida Politics chronicles the elaborate back and forth between one of those men and a police officer pretending to be a young female. Pransky writes:

In one example from a 2017 operation, SCSO spent two days trying to seduce a 20-year-old man who showed no interest in having sex with a child. Detectives, who posted an ad for an 18-year-old woman on Tinder, matched with the young man and proceeded to swap “getting-to-know-you” texts for more than an hour; only then did detectives tell the man he was chatting with a 14-year-old girl, not an 18-year-old.

Undercover detectives continued to try and talk about sex with the man the next day; he again rebuffed the attempts, but continued the small talk because he indicated he was bored. Detectives then sent unsolicited, flirty photos to the man; a tactic that violates best practices and ethical standards for this type of stings.

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It’s not just in Florida…similar thing happened to me, except when they tried to get me to expose myself on a web cam, I was a smart ass and basically said “you first.” Thanks to that, I’m a lifetime recipient of the “we know you’re not really dangerous but we’re gonna tell the public you are anyway” award.

I got caught in a sting like this and it resembles how the police got me. I was on an adult website looking for an escort the escort said she was in the hotel across the street from my office. It is literally a 2 min walk from the bank I worked at. We talked we agreed on a price they sent me nude pics when I got to the hotel they dropped the age to a 16 turning 17 years old in a week can I bring liquor I said no 4 times to sex then they called me… Read more »

This guy should sue the snot out of those creeps!!! Unbelievable!!!

Is it illegal to do a reverse sting and entrap them in their own wrong doing?

Like send an internal investigation from the feds? Let FBI sting the sting for a change.

Yeah that sounds pretty preposterous…I know.

Or how about a news agency setting them up for corruption?

Probably doesn’t make sexy enough news for them…

Imagine the news headlines:

TO CATCH A PREDATOR OF IMAGINARY PREDATORS.

Or…

COPS CREATING SEX OFFENDERS WITH FAIRY DUST & BULLSH#T.

Something like that.

@Peter

I’ve read your comments and I’m so sorry that you have gone through that. The losses that you have incurred in this entrapment is terrible and I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy-with the exception of LEO that partake in these stings so they can see for themselves how immoral and unethical these operations are.

BTW which state were you in during that entrapment?

@Bill I was in California, I swear I dont understand how it can be legal for the police to post on adult websites say they are an adult talk about sex ask for nude pics then drop the age on you to arrest you. We are guilty no matter what and its not fair. If I was a threat or was looking for minors wouldn’t my 2 cells phones and my computer have child pornography, had other conversations with minors? Like I tell everyone I wasn’t planning on going to jail I didn’t have time to delete anything so the… Read more »

@Bill – it would certainly be legal for the FBI to conduct an investigation, including a sting, into another law enforcement agency if the FBI believed there was misconduct. If anyone has been victimized by unethical or illegal law enforcement practices, there are several resources, including the DOJ: https://www.usa.gov/report-crime#item-35887 Doing it yourself in the way you described would be illegal because you would be impersonating a law enforcement officer, so I would advise against it. Whenever someone on a dating app indicates they are under 18, I immediately block them. I even report the accounts because most dating apps don’t… Read more »

So messed up in many different ways. Cops send pictures of 14 year olds to catch a predators. Sounds like the cops have some CP pics in their arsenal? Isn’t that possession? Even if the picture is of an 18 year old…claiming it is a 14 year old makes that picture illegal…right?

So…
What else is new?

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