A Florida mom helped catch a man who tried to lure her daughter for sex, police say. Palm Beach police arrested Spencer Tracy Goss Andrews, 19, on charges of solicitation of a minor, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and possession of child pornography.
According to the police, the mother checked her daughter’s phone and found inappropriate Snapchat messages between him and her daughter. The mother did what any seasoned detective would also do. She posed as her daughter and attempted to get more information about his identity. This led police to arrest Spencer Tracy Gross Andrews.
Investigators say that Andrews admitted to sending nudes and asking for nudes. He also admitted attempting to lure the girl for sex but told police he was drunk at the time—which is not a defense.
Solicitation or Enticement of a Child
Attempting to lure a child for the purpose of sexual gratification is a crime even when it never results in any physical contact between the perpetrator and child. In fact, the child and perpetrator never have to actually meet in person for the crime to be considered actionable under the law. All the perpetrator has to do is attempt to lure the child. Once that happens, they are considered guilty of solicitation in the eyes of the law. However, the law must prove that the reason the perpetrator attempted to lure the child was to commit sexual battery.
Solicitation of a minor over the internet for sexual gratification is considered a third-degree felony under the law. If sexual battery does occur between the perpetrator and the child, then that is charged as a separate and more severe offense. If the individual solicits and then travels to meet with the minor, the charge is escalated to a second-degree felony. A third-degree felony has a maximum sentence of five years, while a second-degree felony has a maximum sentence of 15 years.
The sentence for possession of child pornography will depend on the number and type of pictures that were found in the defendant’s possession. For example, 10 or more images can be charged as one degree higher as well as images that depict sadomasochistic abuse. Images that depict sexual battery of a child qualify for this escalation and any movie of any length would also qualify for this escalation. A defendant who accepts a plea, pleads guilty, or is convicted by a jury will be forced to register as a sex offender.
Defenses to These Charges
As you can tell by this article, convicting an adult on a solicitation charge requires catching the perpetrator in the act of solicitation. The perpetrator must know that the victim is a minor. Perpetrators cannot be “tricked” into soliciting a minor by showing up at a meeting and being surprised. However, getting caught in the act and then confessing to the charges severely limits your defenses in court.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re facing serious criminal charges, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can safeguard your future.