What Florida Sex Crime Charges Will Secret Service Officer Face?
A Secret Service agent returned from DC to Florida recently to appear in court and face charges related to his conduct in “sexting” with a minor. As reported by The Sun Sentinel, the agent attempted to solicit sex from undercover officers whom he thought were underage girls. Authorities have not yet revealed all the details surrounding the case, but the allegations indicate that child pornography was involved and the agent used a computer to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity. The prosecutors will likely present evidence to support a conviction for certain Florida sex crimes, which can result in significant penalties that an offender will carry for a lifetime.
Lewd and Lascivious Acts
This category of sex crimes includes such conduct as solicitation of a person under the age of 16 for sexual activity, as in the case of the accused Secret Service Agent. However, there are additional acts that qualify as lewd and lascivious when a child under 16 years of age is involved, including forcing him or her to engage in prostitution, sexual battery, molestation, exhibition of body parts, and others.
Internet Sex Crimes
Because the Secret Service agent used a cell phone to communicate with the presumed minors and the charges against him include child pornography, internet sex crimes are also implicated. In Florida, internet sex crimes include:
- Possession, distribution and receipt of images containing child pornography;
- Luring a minor via chat room conversations;
- Attempted sexual activity with a child under age 16;
- Stalking over the internet;
- Online solicitation of a minor for sexual activity; and,
- Web cam capture of pornographic images.
However, since internet offenses are a relatively new area, other types of conduct may fall under the category of internet sex crimes.
Penalties for Violating Florida Law on Sex Crimes
The punishment for a conviction related to sex crimes charges vary depending on the age of the offender and the age of the victim, among other factors.
- Lewd and Lascivious Acts by a Person Over 19 Against a Child Aged 12-16: The penalties range from 7-15 years in prison, plus a maximum fine of $10,000. The Secret Service agent may face the lesser of the charges, lewd and lascivious conduct; the more serious actions are molestation and sexual battery of a minor under 16, because there is actual physical contact with the victim.
- Internet Sex Crimes: A conviction of an internet sex crime also carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. However, if the crime is prosecuted under federal law, the punishment can be even more severe.
- Sex Offender Status: Any sex crime in Florida, including those involving minors, require registration in the state as a sex offender. The legal requirement may be for a matter of years, or it could be for a lifetime, depending on the circumstances.
Consult with an Experienced Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer in Fort Lauderdale
If you have been charged with a Florida sex crime and are facing harsh criminal penalties, a qualified defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik can represent your interests to obtain the best possible outcome. The criminal process is complex if you don’t have a legal background, but an experienced lawyer will advocate on your behalf throughout the proceedings. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.