How do the police set you up on a typical sex sting operation in Minnesota? The police may start by placing an ad on Backpages which reads something like, “Naughty Little Play Things.” The ad will list the girls ages at 18. A person who responds to this ad will soon be entrapped by the police through the use of the age old “bait and switch” technique.
How does it work? Well, the police start with the “bait” by including a sensual photograph of two girls in the ad both appearing to be 18 years of age. Police are prohibited by the Internet Crimes Against Children Act from using a photograph of a minor in a sex sting operation. When a person responds to the ad by text message, they are creating a paper trail of admissions which can be used against them at trial. A price is typically discussed and agreed upon for sexual services. Then comes the “switch.” After the target is locked in on the price and services, the police decoy will text that she is 16 and her sister is 14 years of age. The text messages from the police decoy will ooze with lustful sentiment and the decoy will claim to be anxiously awaiting for the suspect’s arrival. If you ask the decoy to call you to verify that she and her make believe sister are in fact minors, the police decoy will refuse as she is probably married with children and could never play the part of a 14 year old girl. Upon arrival at the meet location, you will find no sisters dressed in revealing outfits. When the door opens, you will only find male police officers dressed in uniform. You will be promptly arrested and handcuffed.
What are the defenses? Entrapment occurs when the criminal design does not originate in the accused, but is conceived in the mind of the government agent. The defense requires that the police use persuasion, inducement, and deceitful representation to lure you into committing the crime, a crime you would not have otherwise committed.
I have represented clients in police sex sting operations. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime as a result of a sex sting operation, please call me at (612) 339-1024 to discuss your charges and available defenses.