| Read Time: 2 minutes | Internet Crimes

Florida Police Arrest 23 Child Predator Suspects

At the end of September, Florida law enforcement officials arrested 23 suspected child predators and human traffickers. The arrests came after the police engaged in a four-day sting operation. During the sting operation, the officers used popular online phone applications to pretend to be underage children. Police officers called the sting operation “Operation Intercept VII.” Law enforcement officers arrested 23 suspects ranging in age from 21 to 77.  How Did Law Enforcement Officers Discover the Alleged Predators? The law enforcement officials involved set several snares to catch alleged child predators. The officers set up online advertisements, profiles on popular applications, and profiles on social media websites. The alleged child predators responded to the advertisements and social media profiles. One suspect sent over 90 sexually explicit photographs to the detective on the other end of the snare.  The detectives behind the operation sent the alleged sexual predators their addresses. Several of the suspects brought condoms with them to the meet-up. One suspect brought candy and another brought a sex-toy.  Parents Should be Extremely Careful When it Comes to Online Access A Florida sheriff’s office has warned parents about the dangers of online application usage. In a recent statement, he reminded parents that they are the first defense between their innocent children and sexual predators. Some of the following applications as the most dangerous for young adults and children: Kik Snapchat Ask.fm Whisper Blendr WhatsApp GroupMe Chatous Zoosk Plenty of Fish Grindr Bumble TikTok When teenagers are more technologically savvy than their parents, they may be able to successfully hide dangerous application usage. Nonetheless, there are several applications that parents can use to block apps known to be dangerous. It can be challenging to protect children from online predators.  Traveling With the Intent of Having Sex With a Child Florida law enforcement officers have arrested all 23 suspects for traveling with the intent of having sex with a child.  Florida Statute 847.0135(4) makes it illegal to travel any distance within, from, or to Florida “for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with an after having used an online service or electronic device to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice the child to engage in unlawful sexual conduct.”  In many instances, prosecutors who charge a defendant with traveling with the intent of having sex with a child also charge the defendant with the crime of soliciting a child for unlawful sex through a computer. It is important to understand that suspects cannot make the defense that a law enforcement agent was undercover, pretending to be a child. Law enforcement officers are free to pose as a child or child’s parent during the undercover investigation.  Another undercover investigation technique that cannot be raised as a defense is known as the “bait-and-switch.” This occurs when the law enforcement officer begins the conversation by proposing to engage in lawful sexual behavior. But the undercover officer then quickly changes the conversation from having a legal sexual relationship to an unlawful sexual encounter with a minor child. In Florida, those convicted face up to 15 years in jail, 15 years probation and up to a $10,000 fine. If you are facing a criminal charge of Traveling to Meet a Minor to commit an Unlawful Sex Act, we can help. Our experienced Orlando criminal defense attorneys can skillfully advocate on your behalf.  Contact our law office today to set up your free initial consultation. 

Continue Reading

| Read Time: 3 minutes | Criminal Defense

Possible Criminal Charges for Dani Mathers for Fat Shaming

Dani Mathers is a model who appeared in Playboy in May 2014 and was the 2015 Playmate of the Year. Ms. Mathers would like her current fame and trending status to be limited to her affiliation with the gentleman’s magazine. Unfortunately for Ms. Mathers she is in the news for something entirely different. It turns out that Ms. Mathers took a photo of a woman showering at the gym and sent it via Snapchat with the headline “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.” For those keeping track, Ms. Mathers has now taken a nude photo without the consent of the woman AND has now broadcast it to the world via social media. Now, Ms. Mathers is trending on Twitter and Facebook for being a bully and body shaming a fellow woman. The articles about this incident have been scathing, and rightfully so. While the actions of Ms. Mathers were awful and disgusting, I’ll let the other publications give their insight into social commentary of her conduct. Let’s talk criminal cases. TMZ has indicated that the Los Angeles Police Department has begun a criminal investigation into her conduct. While I am not familiar with the California statutes, had this occurred in Florida, she has the potential to be prosecuted under both Florida and Federal Statutes. Let’s start with Florida law. Ms. Mathers is potentially looking at violating Florida Statute 810.145, video voyeurism. The video voyeurism statutes statute states that someone commits the crime if that person: For his or her own amusement, entertainment, sexual arousal, gratification, or profit, or for the purpose of degrading or abusing another person, intentionally uses or installs an imaging device to secretly view, broadcast, or record a person, without that person’s knowledge and consent, who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing the body, at a place and time when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy I believe that Ms. Mathers clearly falls within that category for using an imaging device and secretly recording and then disseminating this recording of the woman in the shower. Additionally, because Ms. Mathers is over 19 years of age if she were convicted of the offense she would be guilty of a felony. If the US Attorney’s Office decided to get involved then Ms. Mathers could be charged with violating 18 USC 1801. The Federal Video Voyerism statute states: Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, has the intent to capture an image of a private area of an individual without their consent, and knowingly does so under circumstances in which the individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both. (1) the term “capture”, with respect to an image, means to videotape, photograph, film, record by any means, or broadcast; (2) the term “broadcast” means to electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons; (3) the term “a private area of the individual” means the naked or undergarment clad genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or female breast of that individual; (4) the term “female breast” means any portion of the female breast below the top of the areola; and (5) the term “under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy” means— (A) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that an image of a private area of the individual was being captured; or (B) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the individual would not be visible to the public, regardless of whether that person is in a public or private place. Now, I don’t think that Ms. Mathers is a bad person. She did a stupid thing and she has since apologized. However if you are ever in a situation where you are being accused of video voyeurism be sure to call an experienced criminal attorney.  Contact Moses & Rooth Attorneys at Law at (407) 377-0150 for an initial consultation.

Continue Reading