A U.S. Army sergeant is facing serious felony charges after the 26-year-old reportedly showed up at an agreed-upon location with lubricant, candy, condoms and cash for what he thought would be an encounter with two young girls, ages 12 and 14.
Instead, was greeted by agents with both the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He apparently did not realize he had been communicating with an undercover law enforcement officer.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Alexis Kirk Torres was reportedly in the process of transferring from Hawaii to a new base for a different assignment. However, he now faces charges of soliciting or enticing underage children to engage in a commercial sex act.
In Florida, it is a crime to solicit a child for unlawful sex via the use of an online service, internet service or other electronic device. The crime can be charged if the alleged victim is an actual minor or is simply believed to be a minor.
It wasn’t until 2007 that Florida lawmakers added to the statute the term “electronic devices capable of data storage or transmission” to the list of medium illegal to use when soliciting a child.
It’s worth noting that the fact that the individual involved is not an actual child is not a valid defense. That’s important because a large percentage of these cases are born of undercover operations in which detectives either pose as the child (or the parent of a child) or law enforcement engages in a bait-and-switch operation. You may be familiar with this kind of operation, as it became popularized by Dateline’s, “To Catch a Predator.”
In this state, soliciting a child for an unlawful sexual act is a second-degree felony that is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison. It carries a minimum 15 years in prison.
It’s also worth noting that there can be several charges of this even for a single episode or involving a single victim. That means a conviction can quickly amount to a life sentence. It’s imperative to consult an experienced Fort Lauderdale defense lawyer to fully consider your options.
One possible defense we may consider is entrapment. We will look closely at:
- Who initiated the discussions of unlawful sex;
- How persistent law enforcement was in trying to convince defendant to engage in sex acts;
- Any documented instances of reluctance by defendant;
- Defendant’s expressed sexual interests.
We will also look to see if the very specific definition of seduction, solicitation, luring or enticement is met. If defendant did not actually engage in any of these, he or she will not be convicted of a crime.
In this case, Torres has not yet indicated whether he will fight the charges. However, usually given the severity of the charges, that’s usually the best option. He reportedly began communicating with the undercover investigator through Backpage.com, where he replied to an advertisement that used language commonly understood to be associated with individuals seeking children for sexual contact.
Although Torres initially backed out of a meeting with who he believed was a pimp for the two girls, he still continued to communicate with them and later arranged for another meeting. It was at that time that he was arrested.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Army sergeant who tried to meet young girls for sex arrested in Broward sting, feds say, July 20, 2016, Fort Lauderdale Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer Blog
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