A 55-year-old Orange County man has been arrested for allegedly attempting to meet up with a teenager who turned out to be a cop. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, Huntington Beach police arrested the man during a sting. Officials say the man posted an advertisement soliciting sex on Craigslist and began sending explicit emails to someone whom he allegedly believed was a 13-year-old girl.
He was arrested when he traveled to a shopping center in the hopes of having sex with the minor, officials said. He faces felony charges for contacting a child with intent to commit a lewd act, meeting a minor with intent to engage in lewd contact, and attempting lewd acts upon a child under 14. He is a registered sex offender because he was previously convicted of possessing child pornography.
Attempting to meet up with a minor for sexual relations is a serious crime in California. According to California Penal Code 288.4, “Every person who, motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, arranges a meeting with a minor or a person he or she believes to be a minor for the purpose of exposing his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, having the child expose his or her genitals or pubic or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior, shall be punished.”
A conviction on attempting to meet up with a minor could result in a number of penalties, including a fine of up to $5,000 and a maximum one year in prison. Individuals charged with this sex crime who have previously been convicted of a sex crime such as rape, molestation, or possession of child pornography could face felony charges punishable by three years of incarceration.
It is common for these types of serious charges to result from Internet sting operations performed by law enforcement officials. It is important in such cases to determine whether or not the police enticed the defendant into committing a crime or if the defendant had reason to believe the alleged victim was a minor.
The reputed sex crime defense lawyers at Sitkoff & Hanrahan, LLP have significant experience fighting these types of serious charges. Please contact us at (866) 430-8383 if you have been accused of committing a sex crime involving a minor.