The vast majority of child enticement charges that you will find are the result of sting operations and do not involve the actual enticing of a minor child. While pedophiles and others do use the internet for the purpose of finding children, it is more often than not that they are charged with actual child molestation and have an enticing charge tacked onto the end. But the police only become aware of how the perpetrator recruited the child until after a greater crime has been committed.
Many of those who commit these acts are in positions of power or authority over children. This includes ministers, teachers, coaches, and even family members who have established a rapport with the child. It is very rare that an individual who has no relationship with a child is charged with enticement alone. It does happen, but it’s rare.
One recent case involved a 44-year-old chef who bribed teens to provide him with sexually explicit images. He was charged with production of child pornography, possession of child pornography, and enticement of a child. The individual in question posted Craigslist ads seeking out sex. A police officer posing as a 13-year-old girl offered to meet him. He was then arrested. Afterward, the police combed through the chef’s phone and found pictures and communications with underage girls.
In other words, they set up a sting.
Since it was the chef who set up the ad, there was no way that his attorney could claim that the sting operation was entrapment.
Twenty-Four Charged in Child Luring Sting
Another recent example came out of Trenton, New Jersey. Police in the area posed as underage boys and girls and used social media to seek out willing men. The police offered to meet up with them at a location and when they showed up, they were arrested. Among them was a 47-year-old police sergeant who had claimed he was a 19-year-old boy in the chat. He believed he was meeting up with a 15-year-old girl.
The police claimed that these men frequented social media sites for the sole purpose of targeting children for sexual encounters. This included luring children within gaming console games like Minecraft and Fortnite.
Law Enforcement is Ramping Up Efforts to Make Sexual Predators Feel Unsafe Online
The idea behind these sting operations and the question of their legality are two separate issues. We will focus first on the idea behind them. Online chat rooms, gaming platforms, and social media sites are all places where young people go to hang out with one another and talk to random strangers. Those who would target children for sexual purposes know that and so they target these platforms in order to meet children. The act of attempting to lure a child into a sexual encounter is a crime in and of itself, including here in Colorado where it’s referred to as enticement of a child.
In an effort to make these chatrooms, gaming platforms, and social media sites safe for children, the police often pose as children in an attempt to lure out the lurers. This is legal, but it must be done properly or else it could be considered entrapment.
Most people only have a foggy idea of what entrapment is. In most cases, it isn’t what they think it is. In order for a person to be entrapped by police, the police must induce them to act in a manner that is typically outside of their character. To put it simply, the police must pressure them to act. For instance, if a police officer dresses up in tawdry apparel and stands on the corner, the guy who rolls up on the side of the road is not being entrapped. He is, however, being lured into committing a crime, which is why sting operations like this are so effective.
The key to proving entrapment is to prove that it is against your nature or type to do something like lure a young teen into a sexual encounter. In other words, a predilection toward a given sexual encounter is proof against an entrapment defense. Unless the police threaten a defendant in some way, it’s very difficult to prove entrapment.
Talk to a Colorado Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with enticement of a child from an online sting, Miller Leonard can help. Enticement has very stiff penalties and you will likely find yourself in a sex offender registry for the rest of your life. Our attorneys understand how these crimes are prosecuted and can help you put up a reasonable defense to the charges. Give us a call at (720) 613-8783 or contact us online for more information.