Anyone who watches the news, reads the paper, or has a Facebook, undoubtedly
knows of the growing number of individuals arrested and charged with a
variety of sex crimes. One might think these cases simply fall into the
lap of law enforcement or are discovered after someone files a report
with the police; but the reality is an entirely different scenario. Don’t
believe me? Just click
here. Notice anything these articles have in common? All involved sting operations
or organized efforts to find people potentially involved in illegal activity.
Oh yeah, and these were just a fraction of the cases charged and reported
on in the last 10 months.
So how does it work? Let’s break it down. Law enforcement typically
employ agents, or even Task Forces to target individuals who may be engaged
in illegal activity. For example, let’s talk about “Todd.”
In a case of possession and distribution of child pornography, law enforcement
agents or Task Forces are running search terms through their databases
that specifically search for computers using search terms that tend to
be used in connection to child pornography. Once law enforcement has a
“hit” they can track “Todd” through his IP address.
Don’t doubt for a second that the same applies for “Todd’s”
work, should he dare be on his work computer. At this point law enforcement
are likely able to download the images through file sharing programs,
depending on how “Todd” is accessing these images and videos.
All of this allows law enforcement to charge “Todd” with possession
and distribution of child pornography. Should “Todd” be charged
with possession of child pornography, which is a felony, he faces up to
5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.00. Additionally, and they are
often charged together, should “Todd” because charged with
dissemination of child pornography (also a felony), he faces up to 7 years
in prison and a fine up to $10,000.00.
In the case of soliciting a minor, law enforcement or Task forces typically
employ a full-blown sting operation. Say what?! Click
here. Just as the article describes, law enforcement typically post an advertisement
on websites such as Backpage or Craigslist which seek out individuals
who are willing to engage in sexual acts with minors for the exchange
of money. Generally, through the exchange of text messages law enforcement
can gather enough evidence of the targeted individual’s willingness
to engage in this crime. Should an adult be charged with solicitation
of a child, they face felony charges that would send them to prison for
up to 3 years and a fine up to $5,000.00.
Other consequences of these charges include Predatory Offender Registration,
Sex Offender Treatment, limited or no contact with minors, loss of employment,
etc. Even being accused of these crimes have very serious, life altering
The first article was a follow up on an article the Star Tribune originally
reported. The first article can be found