Torrance, Police Sting Operation Online, PC 288.4, 60 Days
Our client had engaged in a conversation with a person he believed was a female on an Internet chat room. The conversation proceeded innocently enough, discussing what kind of music they liked, what kind of food was their favorite, where they wanted to travel one day, until the female represented that she was 14 years old. Our client, taken aback, became hesitant and unsure about proceeding with the conversation in any manner.In a Nutshell: Torrance, our client meets police decoy via Internet, charged with violating Penal Code § 288.4(b), meeting a minor for lewd purposes, case resolved for 60 days of house arrest.
He did proceed, however. The female, really a police officer, then asked if she could meet with our client and our client agreed. The conversation then turned very personal and our client made some overtly sexual comments, which the decoy welcomed and responded in a similar manner. The client told her what he wanted to do with her when they met. She, again reminding our client that she was only 14, stated that she wanted him to do such things to her.
The reader of this case summary may interpret the decoy’s welcoming answers as consent, but this would be a mistake. A person under age 18 is not legally capable of consenting to sexual acts. Therefore, even if the decoy explicitly describes what sex acts she wanted to engage in, or agrees to perform the sex acts our client suggested, our client would still face charges if he proceeded to act as if he would meet her to fulfill her wishes.
Police searched our client’s car and found a backpack with condoms and Vaseline. He did not have any drugs in the backpack. He was then arrested and taken to the Torrance Police Department, where he was booked and then posted a bail bond to be released.
However, he did have to register as a sex offender for life under Penal Code § 290 (it was for life at the time the plea was entered, however, in 2017, SB 384 was signed into law, changing California’s sex offender registration requirements to make the lifetime registration requirement limited to only the most horrendous sex offenses).
The prosecutor would not budge on the charge he had to plea to (our office attempted an alternate plea to attempted statutory rape, which would have avoided the registration requirement), given the conduct in the case. The only way our client would have been able to possibly avoid the registration requirement were to have won at trial, which was a very low chance.
Watch our video about sex offenses by clicking here.