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Police sting at State Fair nets many arrests for sex offenses

State officials were out in force at the New York State Fair this month in an effort to apprehend prostitutes and other sex offenders. During the five days of the fair, nearly 30 people were arrested for sex offenses. Authorities arrested 18 women for prostitution and 10 persons for promoting or profiting from prostitution. These are all misdemeanors under the law.

One man was arrested for sex trafficking, a class B felony. Officials also arrested him for assault for allegedly forcing women into sex to pay for their drug debts. He allegedly burned one of the victims with a cigarette.

The authorities set up a permanent sting operation at the fair, but they would not describe how it worked. Apparently, they had one secure location under surveillance during the course of the fair. The local district attorney made a point to announce that prostitution was "anything but" a victimless crime. At the same time, he indicated that the women charged with prostitution could be prosecuted through a diversionary program that would prevent jail time and require treatment modalities. 

In addition to the prostitution-related arrests, the district attorney announced the arrest of one man in October for trying to meet with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl for sex. Instead, he ran into a law enforcement officer and got the "surprise of his life," according to the district attorney. Another man allegedly tried to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex after a connection was made on Craigslist, and he was arrested for using the Internet to try and induce a minor into sex.

In New York, it is important to have experienced criminal defense representation anytime that sex offenses are charged. This is especially true when the allegations include attempted contact with a minor. Experienced counsel in such matters may be able to prevent the client being listed as a sex offender for national registry purposes, and may get an acquittal, especially where a sting resulted in no actual contact with a minor.

Source: syracuse.com, "NY State Fair stings nab 18 alleged prostitutes and a sex trafficker", Patrick Lohmann, Nov. 17, 2015

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