All of the men involved in a 2013 Clay County Sex Crimes sting involving minors have now been sentenced after they either pleaded guilty or were found guilty at trial. Sentences range from three years in state prison on up to 10 years, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. As a part of the sting, people the men thought were teens were actually undercover detectives and posted ads on Craiglist and in other areas to arrange meetings, the newspaper reported. The main charge for all of the men involved was traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of engaging in an illegal sex act. The charge is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in state prison.
Several of the men were also facing other charges. For example, at least one of the men brought drugs to the encounter he thought was with a teen, so he also pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance and possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, the newspaper reported. But in all cases, the most serious was the Clay County Sex Crimes Case. Police agencies conduct similar stings fairly regularly and a media report such as this will surface a couple times a year. These stings were popularized by the Dateline NBC series “To Catch a Predator,” where the men were caught on camera coming to a home to meet what they thought was a teen. Despite the popularity of the series and the inherent risk involved, police continue to catch people when they conduct the stings.
When there are multiple arrests in Clay County Sex Crimes Cases such as these, the sentencing scale is set early in the proceeding. This is not like a Clay County Drug Crimes sweep where prosecutors may be using testimony from one person against another to try to get information on the source of the drugs. All of these men were caught independent of one another, so their testimony is not important to cases other than their own. The result of each case was not published in the newspaper report, but typically in these cases, defendants who enter a plea and accept guilt in a case receive a lighter sentence than those who take a case to trial.
Regardless of the prison sentence, all of the men will have to register as sex offenders following their release from prison. As registered sex offenders, they will be required to check in with police at least twice a year and within 48 hours of moving residences. Once they move, surrounding neighbors will be notified with the sex offender’s name, address and charge he pleaded guilty to or was convicted of. Clay County Sex Crimes have lasting implications, and our Clay County Criminal Defense Attorney will make sure you or your loved one understands all of the implications and can make a decision about whether or not to take the case to trial.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Clay County Sex Crimes Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.