Colorado law enforcement officers go undercover to attract would-be criminals, like pretending to be minors online to flush out sex offenders. Creating personas is a common, legal police tactic. However, investigators cannot overstep duties by engaging in behaviors that induce individuals to commit crimes.
An out-of-state man was arrested the moment he stepped off a bus in Denver. Prosecutors said the 51-year-old man was the subject of a nearly four-month online investigation, in which detectives said the defendant arranged to meet and have sex with a person the man perceived to be a female Colorado minor. Authorities said the man was wearing an electronic monitor on his ankle at the time of arrest.
The defendant's criminal history included five years' imprisonment for a 1992 aggravated child molestation conviction. Records showed that the defendant twice violated probation terms and neglected to sign up with a sex offender registry. The man was ordered to wear the ankle monitor as a condition of probation, although he had permission to travel beyond state borders.
The defendant allegedly initiated online contact in December with a female he believed was younger than 15. The "girl" was an invention of Jefferson County sex crime investigators. An affidavit said the bus trip was planned after the defendant sent messages to the phantom minor expressing an interest in meeting, having sex and returning together to his home state.
The man allegedly transmitted naked photographs of himself and requested naked photos of the minor. A female investigator posed as the teen during conversations with the defendant. In one instance, the investigator talked to the man's sister, although the defendant cautioned the "teen" to claim she was 18.
The defendant was charged with Internet sexual exploitation of a child and attempted child sexual assault. Child-related sex crime convictions carry extremely heavy penalties. A legal defense must be formidable enough to minimize harsh charges or sentencing, when possible.
Source: 7 News Denver, "Georgia child molester wears ankle tracker to Colorado for sex with girl -- caught in sting instead" Theresa Marchetta and Catherine Shelley, Apr. 23, 2014