In Undercover Operation, Central Florida Authorities Arrest 50 for Attempted Sex With Minors

January 15, 2013 by David S. Seltzer

Fifty people were arrested in Central Florida over the past weeks for arranging what they thought was sex with a minor.
According to news reports, sixteen law enforcement agencies worked together to target people who might commit child sex crimes in Seminole County. The law enforcement agencies posed online as minors or as parents of minors, ultimately arranging for the targets to meet the “minor” at a house in Seminole County where they expected to have sex. The supposed minors were as young as 11. Instead, of course, the targets were arrested;
Fox News says all will be charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex and soliciting a minor for sex. When and if they are released on bond from Seminole County Jail, all will have orders not to contact minors.

News reports say the suspects were located through online chat and classified Web advertisements. From Jan. 6 onward, law enforcement officers spent hours chatting with the suspects online and on the phone. The undercover officers led the suspects to believe that they were arranging sex with minors, but sent only clothed photos. However, a sheriff's deputy said they frequently received graphic child pornography in return—which may fuel further charges of child pornography possession. The defendants include an English teacher at New Smyrna Beach High School and a science teacher at Ocoee High School in Orange County, as well as a translator with the Orange County schools and a janitor in the Seminole County schools. Law enforcement will investigate whether any of those arrested had inappropriate contact with actual minors.

In my experience, regardless of whether further investigation turns up any crimes, these defendants are all in serious trouble. The news reports say that one of the teachers has already resigned, and the other school employees will have to either resign or be fired, given their no-contact-with-minors requirements. In fact, anyone who has been arrested for a sex crime involving minors can expect to have his or her reputation shattered, regardless of how true the allegations are. Even people who were later acquitted of the crime are often fired from their jobs and shunned by other members of the community. And of course, the charges these defendants face carry long prison sentences and other harsh penalties, like sex offender registration. Because of all of this, it's absolutely vital for these defendants to get experienced legal representation as soon as possible.

At Seltzer Law, P.A., we focus our practice on defending people accused of serious crimes involving computers, technology and the Internet. Our lead attorney, David Seltzer, is an experienced former cyber crime prosecutor with the Miami-Dade State's Attorney's office. Now, he uses that experience to help defendants get the best deal possible when they're facing serious cyber crime charges. Our attorneys understand how prosecutors build their cases, and that means we know where to look for weaknesses, particularly in a cyber crime context. We look at all of the aspects of the case, including unusual technological aspects, to find possible weaknesses that can help us break down the case and have charges reduced or dismissed. Based in Miami, we represent clients across Florida and the United States. And because we know police agencies don't stop making arrests when business hours end, we answer the phone 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

If someone you care about has been arrested for a serious cyber crime and you'd like to talk to an experienced lawyer about your rights and your options, call Seltzer Law today for a free, confidential consultation. You can reach us 24 hours a day and seven days a week at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) or send us a message online.

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