Category : Prefile Case
26 Men arrested in connection with Internet Sex Crimes
A Lake County Florida sheriff’s Cyber Crimes detective announced the arrest of 26 men in connection with traveling for sexual activity with a child. Working together with an Internet task force of other law enforcements agencies, the operation known as “Operation: Take Two,” which occurred during the time period July 23 through July 29 in a vacant home in the Tavares, Florida area resulted in the arrests of the 26 men. Detectives posted as children or guardians of children in online chat rooms. When they were solicited for unlawful sexual activity, they arranged for the alleged suspects to meet. Suspects were then taken into custody. The men arrested in connection with the crime range in ages from 19 to 69. The detectives also seized four vehicles in connection with the arrests.
A prefile case investigation involving an Internet Sex crime should be taken seriously. It can ruin your life whether you hold a high profile government or corporate position, are a person of notoriety or are just an ordinary citizen. A prefile case is when a person is under suspicion and investigation by law enforcement or a prosecuting agency prior to formal charges being filed against them for a matter such as an Internet sex offense. If you are being questioned or intimidated by law enforcement officers regarding the investigation of an alleged Internet sex crime, even if you did not commit the crime, the investigation means you may be considered a suspect or a lead in a crime. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney immediately.
Internet sex crimes include the following:
• Possession and/or distribution of child pornography
• Solicitation of a minor in a chat room
• Use of a web cam offense
• Attempted sexual contact with a minor child
• Child endangerment
• Other related offenses
While Internet sex crimes can involve minors or adults, prosecutors take cases involving child pornography or solicitation of minors much more seriously. For instance, you could be charged with a third degree felony in Florida for downloading child pornography, or a first degree felony for producing or promoting child pornography and face a prison sentence between 5 to 13 years. A felony conviction for solicitation of a minor in a chat room could get you a minimum 21 month to a maximum 5 year prison sentence, a fine up to $5,000 and 5 years of sex offender probation. A conviction for lewd conduct for exposing yourself on the Internet with no physical contact with the victim, you could be charged with a second degree felony if you are over the age of 18 and a third degree felony if you are under the age of 18 years. Convictions for Internet sex crimes also may require you to register as sex offender for life and make it harder for you to find a job or a place to live.
Hiring a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are under investigation or suspicion for an Internet Sex crime or facing charges for such an offense, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney at once to represent you. Imhoff & Associates –Criminal Attorneys understand the severity and implications of being suspected in a prefile Internet sex offense matter. Your Imhoff criminal defense lawyer will investigate the evidence against you by speaking with investigators/prosecutors handing the matter to determine whether they have sufficient evidence to charge you and try to get the prefile investigation closed, saving you the stress and embarrassment of an arrest. If you have already been charged with an Internet sex crime, the attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime, get your probation, community service or get the case closed
Internet Sex Offenses in Florida
An online prostitution investigation was conducted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Department undercover detectives from August 24, 2012 through August 30, 2012, resulting in 89 suspects being arrested, including the principal of Kathleen High School, Cecil Edward McClellan. According to police, McClellan agreed to pay undercover detective money in exchange for sex. He was subsequently arrested when he arrived at the hotel wearing a Kathleen High School football shirt. Another suspected arrested in the case was 39 year old Glen Kershaw from Orlando, Florida who was charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted sexual battery on a minor under 12, use of computer to entice a guardian, and unlawful use of two-way communication.
The remaining suspects were charged with crimes ranging from solicitation of prostitution, offering to commit prostitution, deriving proceeds from prostitution, aiding and abetting prostitution traveling to meet a minor for sex, drug charges and battery on a law enforcement officer.
Sheriff Grady Judd was quoted as saying “Prostitution is illegal and those who commit or who derive proceeds from this crime in Polk County can expect to go to jail. The negative social costs of prostitution hurt families, children and communities. Whether it is on the street, or online, it is illegal and we will continue to investigate and arrest those involved in prostitution.”
What is a Prefile Internet Sex Case?
A prefile case occurs when someone is under investigation for an Internet sex crime, but has not been arrested or charged yet. Even if you are not guilty of committing the crime, you still could be considered a lead suspect or person of interest. It is important to seek legal advice from a Florida criminal defense attorney during the investigation to help avoid prosecutors from charging you with an Internet sex offense. The attorney will talk to the prosecutor to find out what evidence they have against you and help clear up any misunderstandings or false accusations and also make sure that police are not planning on engaging in any kind of entrapment tactics against you.
Charges and Penalties
Facing charges for an Internet sex crime in Florida is serious, especially when a minor is involved. Internet sex crimes may include the following types of crimes:
- Possession or distribution of Internet child pornography
- Online solicitation of a minor for sex whether consensual or not
- Luring of a minor in a chat room
- Conducting an online escort/prostitution service
- Sending or receiving nude photos by teenagers using a cell phone
Third degree felony for downloading child pornography or a first degree felony for producing or promoting child pornography.
Solicitation of a minor in a chat room -a minimum 21 month to a maximum 5 year prison sentence, a fine up to $5,000 and 5 years of sex offender probation if convicted.
Second degree felony if over the age of 18 or a third degree felony if under the age of 18 for lewd conduct for exposing yourself on the Internet with no physical contact with the victim.
Prison sentences between 5 and 13 years and fines up to $5,000, sex offender probation and registration as a sex offender for life. A conviction could also mean that it may be difficult for you to find a job or place to live.
Hiring a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are being investigated or considered a suspect in a pre-file Internet sex case, or you have been charged with an Internet sex offense in Florida, you should hire a Florida criminal defense attorney immediately. Imhoff & Associates –Criminal Attorneys understand how serious being accused of an Internet sex crime can be, and we will use all resources available to try and get the prefile investigation closed. If charges have already been filed against you, we will raise strong affirmative defenses such as entrapment, mistaken identity or that you had no intention of engaging in sex in order to get the charges reduced, get your probation, community service or get your case dismissed.
With the help of the Imhoff and Associates Criminal Defense law firm, the potential sex crime case against Luis Galicia, a San Diego resident wrongfully convicted of child molestation, has been officially closed with no charges re-filed. The Prefile case successful outcome presents a tremendous victory for Galicia and his family.
San Diego, CA, March 05, 2012 – Prosecutors in San Diego announced on February 22, 2012 that no charges would be pressed against Imhoff & Associates client Luis Galicia, who had been wrongfully convicted of child molestation (San Diego County case #SCN242198). Defense lawyer Shannon Dorvall of the Imhoff & Associates law firm successfully reversed the conviction, presenting a tremendous victory for the law firm. With the announcement, the Galicia Family can now put the nearly four-year ordeal behind them.
On November 23, 2011 Shannon Dorvall secured Galicia’s release from Corcoran State Prison in California and had the sex crime case conviction overturned by the San Diego County Superior Court. Following a jury trial, which was handled by a different law firm, Galicia was convicted of the sexual molestation of his sister (San Diego County case #SCN242198). Child molestation is a serious sex crime and Galicia was sentenced to serve two “15 to life” sentences and a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
Following the conviction of the sexual molestation case, Imhoff & Associates was approached by the Galicia family for help in filing an appeal. The criminal defense law firm filed an appeal in the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District (D056214) seeking to have the Galicia’s sex crime case overturned. During the course of waiting for the court to rule and at the criminal law firm’s guidance, the family had the sister examined by two other doctors, who disagreed with the state’s doctor’s testimony and asserted that the sister’s hymen was intact, therefore she had never had sex.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office agreed to review the case and requested assistance from the Children’s Hospital, who reviewed the trial photos and examined the sister. The hospital corroborated the family’s newly acquired evidence, lending further credence to Galicia’s defense.
Criminal attorney Shannon Dorvall filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District (D060586) who then ordered a hearing. At the hearing, the District Attorney confirmed the invalidity of the evidence presented at the original trial. The court granted Dorvall’s motion, the sexual molestation conviction was overturned and the court ordered Galicia released from prison.
Ms. Dorvall commented, “We are grateful that this nightmare is over. It is unfortunate my client was ever charged in the first place, and it was a terrible injustice that he had to spend four long years in prison for a crime he did not commit. We have said all along that the facts showed my client was innocent, that the facts could not be ignored. The facts were presented and the truth has prevailed. We are grateful for the support of so many family and friends who never doubted my client. Now, it is time to begin to heal and time to regain his life. I hope this sends a loud and clear message to prosecutors everywhere that the injustice of a wrongful prosecution should never happen again.”
Imhoff and Associates joins Galicia’s family in celebrating this triumph, and believes that no other family should have to suffer such an ordeal. To learn more about Imhoff & Associates Criminal Defense Law Firm, visit http://www.criminalattorney.com or call 1-888-726-0574.
Univision San Diego’s coverage of the case can be viewed at http://www.univisionsandiego.com/noticia/2012/02/22/341228-luis-galicia-es-hombre-libre.html.
About Imhoff & Associates
Imhoff & Associates is one of the largest criminal defense firms in the country, with outstanding attorneys located in various states across the nation. The firm is dedicated to providing excellent quality legal representation, and is open late nights and on weekends. Visit http://www.criminalattorney.com or call 1-888-726-0574 for more information.
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