The Dateline show “To Catch a Predator” is scheduled to air an episode from Flagler Beach, Fl. in March of next year. Maybe the next group of predators will have time to buy a television.
Flagler Beach police said Tuesday that they have arrested nearly two dozen men in a sexual predator sting in their community. They said 21 people were arrested over four days, and most were from Central Florida.“Our department is committed to protecting the children of Flagler Beach, and we will use any traditional and innovative legal means to do so,” said Flagler Beach Police Chief Roger Free.
Fla. Stat. Ann. Â§ 847.0135. Computer pornography; penalties.
(3) Certain uses of computer services prohibited.–Any person who knowingly utilizes a computer online service, Internet service, or local bulletin board service to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child or another person believed by the person to be a child, to commit any illegal act described in chapter 794, relating to sexual battery; chapter 800, relating to lewdness and indecent exposure; or chapter 827, relating to child abuse, commits a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084
One of the men arrested is alleged to be a police officer from Alabama. Police said they found weapons, rope, duct tape and an anchor in car trunk of Officer Todd Spikes, 41.
Police said some of the men had condoms and another man brought the type of candy that the undercover officers said they preferred during their online chats.
The arrested men ranged in age from 19 to 58 and included six non-U.S. citizens, investigators said.
Students from the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida were among those arrested.
Should the “sting” involve girls purportedly under the legal age of consent in order to maximize penalties? It seems they should establish a fake age under whatever the minimum age of enticement is for a particular state. One problem, what is the age of consent in Florida? The Florida statutes seem to indicate it can range from 12-18 depending on the offense.
Update: Florida is very protective of it’s tourism industry but …really
Flagler Beach officials aren’t particularly happy their city will be featured in a sting operation on Dateline NBC. They are even less happy they didn’t know it was going on until after the fact. I’m pretty upset about it,” City Commissioner Ron Vath said. “We’ve been kind of used as a petri dish here and I don’t think people in this city want that.”Vath is so upset in fact that he wants to call a special meeting of the commission to discuss the matter.
Would they prefer sexual predators? What do they want to discuss?