Twelve Florida and Georgia men were recently arrested for attempting to have sex with children, according to First Coast News ABC. Operation Cupid’s Arrow, a joint effort between local, county, state, and federal agents, was created by the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. It pursued men with a “strong desire to have sexual relations with children, according to the task force press release,” who used online chat rooms, classified ads, social media, and dating sites to lure in unsuspecting minors. The dozen men arrested lived across Georgia and Florida, with one perpetrator residing in West Palm Beach. Each man faces charges of traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sex, which is a felony even if no sexual contact occurred.
Traveling to Meet a Minor For Unlawful Sex in Florida
As per Florida statute 847.0135, traveling to meet a minor is defined as traveling any distance, within, to, or from the state of Florida, in attempts to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with a child, or with a person that is believed to be a child, with the assistance of using an online means to solicit, seduce, or entice a child into participating in unlawful sexual conduct. Furthermore, it is also unlawful and a crime of traveling to meet a minor of that solicitation, luring, or enticing was aimed at the parent, custodian, or legal guardian of a minor, and in an attempt to gain their assistance in having access to their child in order to perform illegal sexual acts. Traveling to meet a child is a second degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Unlawful Computer Transmissions Such as Maturation and Exposure of Genitals When a Minor is Watching
Also unlawful under statute 847.0135 are certain computer transmissions, such as committing the following acts online when the defendant knows that they are being viewed by a victim under 16 years old:
- Intentional masturbation;
- Intentional exposure of genitals in a lewd or lascivious fashion; and
- Other intentional sexual acts, including “sadomasochistic abuse, sexual bestiality, or the simulation of any act involving sexual activity.”
Defendants 18 years or older face a charge of lewd or lascivious exhibition using a computer, which is punishable as a second degree felony. Defendants less than 18 years old face a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
Call a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney Today For Immediate Assistance
Are you being charged with traveling to meet a minor or unlawful computer transmissions? If so, or if you are facing other types of unlawful sexual contact with a minor, such as statutory rape, do not hesitate to contact an experienced West Palm Beach defense attorney today with the Skier Law Firm at (561) 220-3355.