It has become increasingly common for police officers to monitor Internet
sites for evidence of prostitution, then to arrest respondents. The use
of online prostitution has exploded in recent years, and police officers
have found the practice to be an easy target for sting operations.
This was the case in a recent sting in southern Maryland, in which 22 people
were arrested and charged with
sex offenses. Officers in St. Mary’s noticed an upswing in online prostitution
in their region, and moved ahead with what they called “Operation
Over the course of several days, undercover officers posed as prostitutes
and accepted payment for various sex acts. Usually, the payment was in
cash, though sometimes drugs were offered instead. Police said their operation
snagged a wide variety of people, including a school bus driver and a
college professor. Both professionals have been suspended from their jobs,
and the professor has been banned from campus. A former Calvert County
teacher was also implicated in the crimes.
While large scale sting operations such as this one are undoubtedly effective
at accumulating a large number of arrests, they are often a source of
concern for those working for the defense of the accused. Accusations
of entrapment are common in situations such as this one, as defendants
often feel they have been drawn into a crime that would not have been
committed without police involvement. In such situations, defense attorneys
must carefully examine the chain of events to ensure that their client’s
rights were not infringed upon during the course of the investigation.