More than a dozen local, state and federal law enforcement agencies investigated alleged online sexual predators and took 17 people into custody in Wisconsin between March 12 and 14 for allegedly committing crimes against children. The Department of Justice dubbed the effort to locate persons involved in sex crimes "Operation Black Veil." While 16 individuals were from Wisconsin, one man reportedly drove to the state from Illinois to pursue a girl he believed was 15.
The men ranged in age from to 19 to 66, and they were arrested for a variety of charges, including trafficking of a child, child enticement, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, exposing a child to harmful materials and solicitation of a prostitute. Some were also arrested for drug crimes and other non-sexual offenses. The police continue to investigate other individuals who may be involved and warned predators that they could also be arrested.
The sting involved more than 100 undercover officers who disguised themselves on the Internet as teenage girls in order to catch the would-be predators. The Attorney General reported that it was the largest sting operation of its kind in Wisconsin. The state has budgeted money specifically to continue these types of sting operations against potential sex offenders.
When someone is accused of a sex crime, he or she faces serious penalties, including possible lifetime registration as a sex offender. A criminal defense lawyer aims to protect a client's rights and ensure that law enforcement does not overstep their boundaries through the use of entrapment as is often possible in sting operations. The attorney may be able to have evidence gleaned from such an operation excluded from a trial on the basis that it was improperly obtained.
Source: 620 WTMJ, "17 arrested for Internet crimes against children," Todd Hicks, March 18, 2013
Source: NBC 15, "UPDATE: 17 Arrested for Internet Crimes Against Children; 6 Suspects Arrested in Madison," March 18, 2013