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.