With social networking sites becoming more popular, law enforcement is targeting people they feel are dangerous to children. Stings are set up to arrest individuals that attempt to meet children that they chat with online. Being accused of these crimes can lead to damaged reputations and the inability to find employment. With law enforcement being vigilant in pursuit of these cases, it is crucial to know the entire story in order to understand what happened in that particular situation.
A recent arrest in Colorado highlights the challenges facing someone accused of these crimes. Damien Lambert Wesley Iringan, 29, a substitute teacher in the Denver metro area, was arrested for child luring using the Internet. Iringan had been chatting online with someone he thought was a child, but was actually a law enforcement officer. He arranged a meeting with the child. When Iringan arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested.
Iringan could have to register as a sex offender, if convicted. Depending upon the charges, he is also facing the potential of two to 10 years in prison.
Entrapment is one defense used quite frequently in these cases, and could be available to Iringan. In very basic terms, the entrapment defense is used to show that the accused would never have committed the crime but for the encouragement of law enforcement. It is a very difficult defense with many components, including admitting that the alleged crime was actually committed. Several other defenses may be available, including not knowing that the victim was a minor.
Many child luring cases come to light through aggressive police work. Police will set up a fake Facebook or MySpace profile, pretending to be an underage child. They wait for someone to email or chat with the child, and then continue the conversation. At some point, the officer or the other person may request an in-person meeting. When the alleged offender shows up for the meeting, law enforcement arrests them - no questions asked.
Often, when the arrest is made public, only limited factual information is made available. Law enforcement does not get into detail describing the investigatory tactics it used. Offenders face public outcry over their arrests, and it is very difficult to clear their names if they have been wrongly accused. It is important to discuss the individual facts of each situation with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn which defenses may be available, especially for those accused of luring children over the internet.