Free-Range Kids

To Catch a Non-Predator, Try Entrapment

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Trapped
Public domain

How can you turn a lonely guy looking for a date into a predator looking for a victim? All you need is a computer and a cop. Thus we must hail Noah Pransky, an investigative reporter for WTSP in Tampa Bay, Florida, for exposing the way cops fish for men on adults-only dating sites and then arrest them for being child predators. When they're not.

One way the cops do this is by first pretending to be young ladies of legal age. Then, once they develop an online relationship with a guy, they "admit" that they are actually younger, but still really want to meet. Or they say that they are eager to meet the man, but will be bringing along a younger sibling. The men don't have to indicate any interest in dating the female they now think is younger, or in dating a legal lady's younger sibling. Merely continuing an online conversation is considered soliciting a minor, as is heading off to meet the "older" sibling who will have the "younger" sibling (both non existent, of course) with her.

Pransky found a "pattern of officer misconduct in an effort to boost arrest totals." In one case, a man repeatedly texted that he emphatically did not want to have sex with the 13-year-old sister his date would be bringing along. But "after hundreds of text messages the man agreed to have sex with both females, and was arrested upon arrival."

Why create "predators" who don't actually pose a threat to kids? As always: Follow the money. In fact, follow two sources:

1.) A man accused of looking for children online can have his property seized. The police may get to keep his stuff—even if charges are never actually filed:

Sex stings have become especially rich sources for seizures, since almost every man arrested is accused of traveling to seduce, solicit, or entice a child to commit a sexual act…even though no real children are ever involved in the stings. However, the accusations are felonies, meaning law enforcement can seize suspect's vehicles, making it extremely difficult for them to ever get them back without paying thousands of dollars – or more—in cash to the arresting agency.

2). The cops also get federal dollars to hunt for child predators. These particular Florida police were spending tens of thousands of dollars on each sting, "yet the majority of men arrested were either teenagers or in their 20s and not considered risks to children." They were trying to find girls about their own age. Many of the judges, thank goodness, smelled a rat and threw the cases out. Long story short:

"The stings offered a solution to a supposed widespread problem that didn't actually exist in Central Florida."

If you are convinced that children are under constant threat from predators online, and then go so far as to set up entire government departments to "catch" them, it will seem bewildering, frustrating, embarrassing or annoying not to be able to find them. And so, if you have zero scruples and a budget to spend, you will create them.

free-range-kids

Pransky asks, "If you have any additional information as to how the predator operations are conducted, please contact Noah Pransky at npransky@wtsp.com. You can reach Noah on Twitter at @NoahPransky, or connect with him on Facebook too."

I guess he's not afraid of creeps contacting him on social media. (Maybe because it's just not a big problem.)

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  1. Back in the dark days of Yahoo! chat, I can recall being pestered by people claiming to be underage chatters who would not leave me alone. They would say some really disgusting things and try to get me into conversations that I really did not want to have. I tried to ignore them without being mean, but eventually had to. Thinking about it, I now believe they were cops.

    1. Translated: I had to do it officer. No sir, she begged me and her being a child and me being a full grown man, I had no choice in the matter. I didn’t want to talk to her like that, but she made me cuz I didn’t want to be a meanie! Children tell me what to do all the time and I’m such a spaz, I can’t say no.

      1. Had to do what? Be mean to some “kids” to get them to quit trying to start unwanted conversations? You are severely lacking in reading comprehension.

      2. I didn’t realize it was a crime to brush off unwanted online solicitations.

  2. It must be Polk County Florida an area that sheriff Grady Judd calls home.

  3. Been following that series since he started writing it. He deserves a Pulitzer.

    This kind of thing makes for good PR with the average voter (you know, the kind that watches Nancy Grace on a nightly basis and is convicted that there’s a predator on every corner waiting to snatch your child away), you get that sweet, sweet forfeiture cash, and you get more federal dollars to boot. From the cops’ perspective, what’s not to like?

    1. From the cops’ perspective, what’s not to like?

      Lying awake at night, knowing what a horrible person you are?

      1. You are projecting the fact that you have a conscience onto them.

        1. The police suicide rate is rather high even if you only count those actually reported as a suicide. This might indicate the presence of a conscience.

          1. My pet theory is that in the beginning cops actually buy into idea that they are the ‘thin blue lie/rough men who stand ready in the night to do violence so that the sheep can sleep safely in their beds’
            At that stage the lies and whatnot are justified with the idea that ‘we can’t be boy scouts’ that it’s necessary to fight the scum/pure evil/etc…
            Later they find themselves in ‘those who fight monsters become monsters’ territory, but even then you can rationalize that as a sacrifice ‘better we become monsters so worse monsters don’t eat up the innocent’
            Then one day, maybe after lobbing a grenade into a baby’s crib, you realize that the horrible things you do aren’t making the world a better place; no, you’re just another monster.

      2. no, just ask what the rewards are for the police who use entrapment like that to collar non-perps.

        “Tell me how you’ll reward me and I’ll tell you how I’ll behave.”

        Some of you think that only applies to worker-bees? Everyone from the Prez to CEOs to police to the guy driving the garbage truck… universal litmus test.

  4. But they still can’t catch STEVE SMITH

  5. This tells me there are too many law enforcement employed in certain areas of the state. Instead of letting them invent crime, layoffs appear to be in order.

  6. Ah the internet, where men are men, women are men and children are cops.

  7. “Pransky found a “pattern of officer misconduct in an effort to boost arrest totals.” In one case, a man repeatedly texted that he emphatically did not want to have sex with the 13-year-old sister his date would be bringing along. But “after hundreds of text messages the man agreed to have sex with both females, and was arrested upon arrival.”

    Uh, so, he did say that he wanted to have sex with the kid. Yes, he was badgered into it, but he was badgered into saying he wanted to have sex with a kid. As soon as the subject comes up, only a fucking idiot would not drop all conversation and block the person. It’s either a cop or a psycho, and either way you’re better off leaving the situation alone (maybe calling the cops, on the off chance someone is actually trying to pimp out a real kid).

    1. That sounds more like the guy said “whatever, sure.”

      That is definitely nowhere close to solicitation

      1. Yes. Plus he might have just figured he’d find a way to get out of it once he got there. Give her some money and tell her to go buy some makeup or see a movie or something. I can easily see a 20 year old guy not thinking it completely through.

        1. Bull on “maybe”! When you chat with a child, agree to have sex with a child, and then go to see the child, you’re not just this poor unfortunate guy that was in the wrong place and would eventually get it right.

    2. More likely he is a lonely guy who wants desperately to have sex with the legal aged person, he’s not very bright, and he was thinking he could just not do the 13 year old when the time came.

      1. And if most criminals were very bright, they wouldn’t do the crime either. Stupidity is no excuse for agreeing to have sex with a minor. Are you suggesting he actually had to do the act with a 13 yr old before you’d bust him? Because maybe right before doing it, he’d say no and walk away. Yeah, sure he would.

        1. Are you suggesting he actually had to do the act with a 13 yr old before you’d bust him?

          I will suggest that they had to have actual evidence that he was intending to do it with the 13 year old to bust him. In this case, I think stupidity may be an excuse. People often do agree to things that they have no intention of doing because it gets them something else they want.

          1. I don’t see how mindset would not factor into intent. I don’t see how stupidity (or desperation, or whatever) would not factor into mindset.

            There are two kinds of people. Those who can have rational conversations about tricky topics, and those who bludgeon people who like to have rational conversations about tricky topics in order to proclaim their ethical superiority.

            1. …and those who bludgeon people who like to have rational conversations about tricky topics in order to proclaim their ethical superiority.

              “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.”

        2. I’d say that it should take more than a text message.

        3. “She’s” not a child. “She” doesn’t exist. There is no victim of anything. Not even an inappropriate consensual relation. So no, you don’t have a point.

          1. he expressed a desire to have sex with an underage girl. that’s all they were looking for.

            In many states it’s legal for adults to have sex with people down to the age of 16. Personally I feel it’s inappropriate if someone is still in high school (or even junior high!) even if they are 16. However – you better make the arrangements face to face, because even if state law allows the sex, there is federal law that says the sex can’t be solicited by electronic means, such as telephone or email or the internet.

        4. People like you are why I have no faith in the legal system. Or democracy.

        5. It is not the job of the government to tempt us to commit crimes and then arrest us for expressing interest in doing so (not even actually doing the act). If I were on a legitimate job search site, trying to find a legal job, and an undercover officer came in and told me I could make $250K a year as a high-class hooker, and then kept pestering about it, and I finally said (totally dejected from my dead-end job search), “That sounds like it might be good. Sure, I’ll meet to talk more about it,” and then arrested me for prostitution, that would not be okay.

          How many of us could be tempted under the right circumstances? How many 20 year old guys do you think would, if they had an extremely aggressive and persistent 15 year old asking them for sex, would not even for a single second consider saying yes?

          The government cannot and should not go around tempting law-abiding citizens to commit crimes. In reality, many of us would commit all kinds of wrong acts if the circumstances presented themselves, which thankfully they usually don’t. There are not 13 year olds using Craigslist to seek out sex. So, the government is tempting these men with a situation that will not occur. That is not okay. We should not accept our government putting citizens with no intention to commit a crime through morality tests and then charging people who fail with serious felonies.

    3. @ant1sthenes – – exactly! I have no use for excuses from people who claim they had no choice in the matter. She’s a child, you’re an adult, click the X on the browser window. It just isn’t that hard. What’s the difference between a predator and a reluctant predator. Not one damn thing.

      1. I do think that any responsible adult must not have sex with 13 year olds. However, I don’t think “predator” is quite the word to use for someone who reluctantly agrees to do so after lots of badgering and cajoling from the supposed victim.

        1. supposed victim

          Missing a “nonexistent”.

      2. She’s a child, you’re an adult, click the X on the browser window.

        “She” is not a child. The “She” making the solicitation in the article was an adult soliciting her sister and actually an adult male soliciting an imaginary minor.

        Moreover, you miss the larger point, there are, presumably, people out there actively seeking to have sex with minors. People who for whom ascent is implied rather than obtained through twisted negotiations and badgering. People who would acquiesce to the adults involved in order to access the non-consenting children (rather than the other way around). The police are paid to find and arrest these people and their sister-pimping cohorts.

        Arresting people on ‘intent to commit statutory rape’ charges wastes time and money that could be brought to bear on ‘committed multiple violent statutory rape’-type crimes.

        But it’s much easier to ferret out idiots on the internet and collect a paycheck than it is to do the detective work to figure out which Dad/Priest/Scoutmaster/Teacher in the community is diddling minors.

        1. This is also only a crime because it’s happening online. In real life, “attempted statutory rape” is not a real crime. That’s why you never see anybody arrested for it.

          It’s actually kind of funny. 20-something guys can hit on teen girls at the mall all they want, and are not committing a criminal offense. Because, again, attempted statutory rape is not a crime. But, the same guy goes online looking for an of-age woman to have sex with and is approached by an aggressive “teen” and agrees to consider sex, and can be arrested as a predator, because while attempted to commit statutory rape is not a crime, “internet solicitation” (or, in some states “use of a computer to commit a crime”) is.

      3. You’re missing one, rather large, point. This guy wasn’t a predator at all.

    4. Whatever. It’s still pretty clear entrapment. I don’t think just agreeing to meet is clear evidence that the guy had any intention of actually having sex with a 13 year old.
      In any case, what crime is there when the supposed victim doesn’t even exist?

      1. Thoughtcrime.

        1. The reality is, yes, we now have thought crime in this country. I’m not sure exactly when this trend started, but it is certainly become standard now. There are a number of incidents of people saying bad things about the police on facebook and being arrested. Like any sane person, I think anyone who exploits a child (and it’s funny how merely beating a child is somehow less heinous than fondling one)needs to be put away, but arresting people for what they say or type – wow, that is scary in my book.

      2. what crime is there when the supposed victim doesn’t even exist?

        Unfortunately, you can be found guilty of attempted [insert crime here] even if it was literally impossible to commit the actual crime so long as the prosecution can prove you had the specific intent to try to commit the crime.

    5. If they resorted to a website, they were lonely and having a hard time finding someone. Then they think they have found someone and they don’t want to have it end without at least meeting the person.

      Plus, he “agreed” to have sex with two imaginary people.

    6. Yes, many of the men arrested are idiots. If you look at Pransky’s research into this, nearly all of the men arrested are in their teens or twenties. Of them, most are mid-twenties and under. Guess what? Frontal lobe development is not complete in men until they are in their mid-to-late 20s, the age at which arrests for these crimes drops off quite a bit.

      So basically we’ve got police officers pretending to be horny, aggressive teen girls pursing men who are often decades younger than the police officers. We’ve got 50 year old men pretending to be 15 year old girls in order to cajole 22 year olds into agreeing to illegal sex. How is the 22 year old in this situation a predator, again?

  8. my buddy’s sister-in-law makes $67 an hour on the internet . She has been without a job for 6 months but last month her paycheck was $12455 just working on the internet for a few hours. website link……….
    ????? http://www.work-reviews.com

    1. You can’t fool me, your buddy’s sister-in-law is actually an undercover cop pretending to be of age.

      Fuck you anonbot

  9. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ????? http://www.jobsfish.com

  10. I look forward to 2 of these predator hunters setting each other up, and both going to jail.

    1. I wouldn’t hold my breath, they are cops they could actually molest kids for real and the only concern would be “did the officers get home safely?”

  11. “Why create “predators” who don’t actually pose a threat to kids? As always: Follow the money.”

    Imagine! Set up a system to reward misconduct and then be amazed when misconduct ensues!

  12. “Article” on Huffpo about how crazy America is in the eyes of Europe. Maybe it is because of things like this?

    1. If you read the article and the comments on it I think you’ll come up with a better idea of why people think we’re crazy.

      I saw one person who commented that America started out as an individual rights nation but now we should have grown up to see that the collective is so much more important and we should abandon the whole individual thing.

      That is crazy in my opinion. Oh and it also has a healthy dose of Scandinavia is paradise and it’s all sunshine and rainbows there.

  13. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here……..
    ???????? http://www.paygazette.com

  14. my roomate’s half-sister makes $69 hourly on the laptop . She has been without a job for 10 months but last month her check was $15722 just working on the laptop for a few hours. why not look here………..
    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  15. Yesterday I picked up a brand new Lotus Esprit after making $6059 this ? 4 weeks past an would you believe $10 thousand this past-month; this is actually the most-comfortable work I’ve had . I actually started 10-months ago and pretty much immediately got minimum $80 per-hr . Get More Info @

    ……….. http://WWW.WORK4HOUR.COM

  16. The sack of schit cop who e-mailed me said he was a little girl who was being beaten by her mean stepfather, and could I help her escape?

    I saw through this and told him that he was a human pig, and he should jump off a tall building.

  17. in 2006 five men in our town, including an acquaintance of ours, were arrested for allowing a 15 year old boy to perform oral sex on them.

    I just Googled up this description

    “A former college administrator, a former Christian bookstore owner and a former policeman admitted to sexual misconduct with a teenage boy.

    They were among five men arrested in March as part of an ongoing investigation of men who meet boys through Internet chat rooms, authorities said.

    [They] pleaded guilty yesterday to corruption of minors, indecent assault and unlawful communications with minors.”

    The kid was underage, they actually had sex, so yes they are criminals. But some more of the details are that these were closet gay guys who got together in a chat room. The actual, real life, 15 year old got on the chat and offered his services to the adults in the room. Some time later the police read the chats, determined the boy was underage, and arrested the adults.

    OK, as I said, they should be arrested for having sex with a minor, but when they are charged with “corruption of minors” and “indecent assault”, it makes them sound like predators when it was the kid who solicited them, and the kid was never charged with anything. He offered and performed the B.J.’s of his own free will.

  18. Police pretending to be buying drugs or services of prostitutes or other illegal stuff from people selling the illegal stuff? Good thing IMHO. The sellers are already engaged in an illegal activity.

    Police pretending to be selling drugs or pretending to be prostitutes or selling other illegal stuff? That should be illegal. Such activities by the police are *creating crimes* where they don’t previously exist without their activity.

    I’d like to see a judge ask a faux prostitute cop “Did you have sex with the defendant?” Of course the answer will be “No.” “Then you were not actually engaged in the illegal act of prostitution and the defendant did not purchase the performance of any sexual service. Case dismissed! And don’t come into my courtroom with any more of this phony crap!”

    1. Exactly. It’s one thing for an undercover officer to attempt to buy drugs from a suspected drug dealer. It’s another for an undercover officer to approach a person doing their grocery shopping to see if they want to buy some weed and then arrest them if they express interest. Once again, the government should not be tempted citizens not in the process of trying to commit a crime to do so, and then arrest them for their moral failings.

  19. I agree that Miguel `s st0rry is flabbergasting, last saturday I got a new Lotus Esprit from earning $8938 this past 4 weeks and would you believe, ten/k last-month . without a doubt it is the most comfortable work I’ve had . I began this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in minimum $86… per-hr . Visit Website ~~~~~~~~ http://www.jobsfish.com

  20. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  21. Ever hear of blocking someone? You can always block someone if they are proposing something illegal.

  22. Here is an interesting internet sex sting true scenario. Posted on here in 3 Parts:

    LEO post an ad in Craigslist which is a violation of the CL Terms of Use. States that she is a single Mother with a middle school child looking for an NSA encounter. A traveling businessman informs her that he would like to meet her. He also informs her that he can host. She is adamant that she would host. Individual agrees and asks her what she is interested in doing. States that she is more interested in having him mentor her daughter who is 14. He tells her that he is not interested and does not want to do anything illegal. She still want him to travel. He agrees to meet the mother. The mother states that the daughter needs to get educated. He again states that he will meet up with the mother. Mother states well let’s meet up and talk. Mother wants to know what her daughter would be learning. He tells her about different types of sex,never mentions sex with the minor.

  23. Mother wants to know what her daughter would be learning. He tells her about different types of sex, ever mentions sex with the minor. Mother wants to know about his car, cell phone number, when he will arrive, he should bring condoms & send a picture. He ask mother for a picture. Mother only sends a picture of the minor and not of her. Minor’s pic does not look 14 rather 17-20. He refuses to travel to the home and tells the mother to meet him at a public location. Mother is adamant that he drive to her home but he refuses and she finally agrees. Upon arrival at location, he is arrested and charged on 3 sexual predator charges. After court process, the Prosecution drops the 3 sexual charges and changes to 1 misdemeanor charge with 6 months probation and no sexual offender registration. Psych eval states that the he is not a sexual predator and has no child sexual tendencies.

    Question here is,”Who was doing the solicitation, luring, enticement, and pimping out a minor?”

  24. So what did this illegal internet sex sting arrest do to him: 1. Lost job, 2. Face posted all over internet, 3. Lost friends, 4. Large legal fees,5. LE confiscated his $35,000 car and auctioned it off,6. Cannot find a new job, 7. Initial loss of internet access, 8. Family embarrassments’, 9. Young children ridiculed at school, etc. 10. He is moving to another State. He is currently working a civil suit against the Sheriff’s Department but the damage has been done. Sheriff’s Department still adamantly believe that the Undercover Female Cop did not create the crime and entrapped the individual.
    Part 3:
    So for those of you that don’t believe that our beloved Sheriff and Police Departments are not purposely entrapping innocent men “WAKEUP” and stop acting “IGNORANT & STUPID”. As Mr. Pransky haS discovered, it is all about the $$$$$$$$$ (property confiscation and DoJ federal funds) and to keep it all flowing, they have to have arrests, the hell with the prosecution process. They only have to report the arrest to the State and Department of Justice. What the Courts do afterward is not their problem.

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  26. It’s the latest in a moral panic you can’t really fight against. Think of the drug war, you can’t really push for lighter sentences or decriminalization of, say, crack because – What? Do you think crack is *good*? Of course not, but the way we approach it is bad policy.

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