On behalf of The Law Office of Gustavo E. Frances, P.A.
The internet has revolutionized the world. It has changed how people interact, how they shop and even how police catch criminals. The internet provides a certain anonymity that can give people a false sense of security when they are online. However, it is important for Floridians to understand that police can and will use what people say online against them in court — especially when prosecuting sex crimes.
In a recent Florida case, a man has been charged with unlawful sex with a minor after he met an underage girl in an online forum. According to police, the 30-year-old man, met and solicited an underage girl while on the site VampireFreaks.com.
In a unique twist, at the time the alleged online solicitation, the man had already pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. According to prosecutors, the man had agreed to plead guilty to 10 counts of possessing child pornography in exchange for a three year prison sentence and 10 years of probation. Furthermore, as part of the deal, the man did not have to surrender for his prison sentence until after the holidays. Police say that it was during this time that the man had sexual relations with the minor.
Prosecutors have recently asked that the man’s prison sentence be extended from three years to 50 years if he is found guilty in his upcoming proceedings.
Sex crimes, like sexual assault charges, online solicitation or possession of child pornography, can carry serious penalties for the accused. Lengthy prison sentences are common for the accused as are serious social repercussions. When the charges arise from things said on the internet, people need to make sure their rights are protected. Even when the internet is involved the police have rules that must be followed and people need to ensure that their rights are not violated.
Bradenton Herald, “Cops say Florida man lured teen for sex using vampire website,” David Ovalle, March 8, 2013