Michael K. Allen & Associates
Call now! Available 24/7 513-823-4224

Catfished and charged: are sting operations entrapment?

You may remember the TV series “To Catch a Predator” in which the producers, sometimes working alongside police, impersonate minors in order to lure possible sex offenders. While the show obtained national popularity and led to several spin-offs, some viewers wondered if such tactics are a form of entrapment.

Not only did the show use this technique, but law enforcement also “catfishes,” or pretends to be someone else online. Police call this a sting operation. Their goal is to proactively catch crime in the act before an actual child is in danger, but agents must walk a fine line to avoid creating an unfair situation or causing undue emotional harm.

An Ohio college student was recently the subject of a sting operation, which ended in his arrest. Police first reached out to him online while posing as a 15-year-old boy. After consistent messaging, police revealed the fictional boy’s age. The student still sent nude photos and agreed to meet the boy in person for sexual relations.

In order for this sting operation to be valid, police must not have pressured the student into carrying out a crime he would not otherwise commit. For example, they cannot threaten the target’s safety if they refuse to meet up with a minor. Agents are also prohibited from repeatedly insisting on the crime until the target eventually gives in. The sting operation must be free from discrimination or conflicts of interest as well. Instead, sting operations should merely present the opportunity for the target to either commit or resist.

Sting operations are a delicate matter. Many factors in a case could cast doubt on the fairness of the police officers’ setup. In these “catfish” cases, defendants need skilled legal guidance to double-check that the operation was fair from the start.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • FOX 19 / Michael K. Allen provides legal direction on-air through his appearances on FOX 19 NEWS. Visit the media section to learn more and watch our videos. / Latest Videos
  • 700 WLW / Listen to Michael K. Allen on 700 WLW Radio / Latest Podcasts

Main Office
4010 North Bend Road, Suite 200
Cincinnati, OH 45211

Phone: 513-823-4224
Fax: 513-579-8703
Map & Directions

Satellite Office
810 Sycamore Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Map & Directions

Review Us

Tell Us About Your Legal Issue

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy