Operation “Broken Heart” and Online Child Sex Crime StingsPublished: Aug 02, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes Involving Children
A nationwide child sex crime sting has resulted in 51 arrests in the Houston area. Operation Broken Heart reached into Montgomery, Fort Bend, and Harris counties, and targeted people who allegedly engage in sex trafficking, child pornography, and child grooming. The operation is coordinated by the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, whose officers pose as children online to trick potential offenders. This tactic is effective. Last year, the Department of Justice recorded more than 2,300 arrests between March and May alone.
Child sex crime charges can ruin your life. Going through the criminal justice process is never easy, but when you’re accused of sexual offenses involving minors, you will also face severe damage to your personal and professional reputations. For this reason, you need a Houston child sex abuse lawyer who is ready to fight for you. At The Law Offices of Ned Barnett, we are ready to help you. Call (713) 222-6767 today, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation.
The Police Treat Child Sex Crime Suspects as Guilty Until Proven Innocent
The ICAC was created in 1998 to coordinate a nationwide response to child sex crimes. Over 4,500 local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices from around the nation are members of the ICAC, and since its inception, the task force has arrested thousands of people. Their most effective tactic is to pretend to be children online, and wait for adults to request or do something illegal. This is not entrapment as long as the police do not pressure or coerce the suspect into committing the crime.
When the police finish their online child sex crime sting, they usually hold a press conference where they release the names, photos, and other information about the suspects. This year’s operation was no exception. Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Alan Rosen even went so far as discussing particulars of one suspect’s case, telling reporters that “during chats, he tried to convince undercover personnel he thought was a teenage girl to help kidnap children from area parks, breed them to make babies.”
According to this particular suspect’s lawyer, Constable Rosen’s statements were improper. “The statement that he made is not public information, and so he has a duty not to disclose it,” the lawyer told ABC News. “They may deprive him of his right to a fair trial.” When the authorities discuss a criminal prosecution in public, especially potential evidence and witness testimony, it can create the perception that the suspect is already guilty, and make it difficult for the court to select unbiased jurors to decide the case.
The importance of getting a fair trial in a child sex crimes case cannot be overstated. Not only are the criminal penalties extremely harsh, but the collateral consequences of a conviction can make it all but impossible to lead a normal life after you have served your time. Your name, offense, photo, home address, work address, phone, license plate number, and social media accounts will be publicly displayed. There will be legal restrictions on where you can work or live, and most employers will be unwilling to hire a sex offender.
A Houston Sex Crimes Lawyer Can Help You Today
For the above reasons, it’s essential that you fight your child sex crimes charges while you still can. Do not accept a plea deal before speaking with an experienced Houston sex crimes attorney who can help you decide your best option. There may be several possible defenses to the charges you face. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime against a minor, call The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767, or reach out online to schedule a free consultation of your case.