The police are a crafty lot. They will go to great lengths to catch a citizen who had no intention of ever committing a crime. They will use the internet to lure their unsuspecting prey into a trap by using a bait and switch tactic.
I represented a doctor in Duluth, Minnesota who was charged with the felony offense of solicitation of a minor for sexual contact or penetration. The police had drafted an escort advertisement and posted it on AdultLook.com. The photograph used in the ad was of an adult police officer who was 27 years of age. The photo was a selfie taken inside a hotel bathroom with the face of the fictitious escort covered by holding her cellphone in front of her face. The location for the sting operation was a hotel room was the Canal Park Lodge. The undercover chatters were located in the room next door and would respond to text messages sent by potential customers who saw the advertisement and wanted to hire the undercover escort. The advertisement stated the escort was 18 years of age (the bait). At some point the chatter would text the customer, “I don’t want any trouble when you get here so I just want you to know I am almost 16 (the switch).”
The defense was based on the fact my client knew that the escort was role playing. Based on his medical training and experience, he estimated the age of the officer in the photo to be in her late twenties to early thirties. The aging hand holding the cell phone in the photo gave it away. This was not the hand of a 15 year old high school sophomore. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty. I have attached a link to the article written in the US Observer about the case.
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