Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lawmaker Starts Sex Offender Prison Push After 10 Investigates Story

When I think online stings I immediately think of all those corrupt sting operations in Florida last year.

Lawmaker Starts Sex Offender Prison Push After 10 Investigates Story

By Nathan Baca
Wednesday May 13, 2015 6:37 PM 
UPDATED: Wednesday May 13, 2015 6:38 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A state lawmaker wants to change state law on sex offenders after 10 Investigates exposed a legal loophole.

House Bill 208 introduced Wednesday would create mandatory prison sentences for more online sexual predators.

10 Investigates uncovered multiple cases of criminals going online and trying to meet teens for sex. The crime is called importuning. Some of them ended up caught by undercover Sheriff’s detectives.

In its series “Online And Off The Hook,” 10 Investigates looked at every Franklin County importuning case since 2010.

There were 107. Only 19 were sent to prison and 70 got probation and sent back on our streets.

The numbers uncovered by 10 Investigates upset the lawmaker who wrote a 2008 law he believed mandated prison sentences.

"We've got to improve this law. We've got to fix this loophole that apparently the judiciary is letting some folks through without any prison time," Rep. Tim Schaffer, Republican from Lancaster.

10 Investigates found the cause for so many online sexual predators were receiving probation. Prison overcrowding was one concern. But some judges questioned detectives posing as teens online.

"Some might say, we have a victimless crime,” Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Richard Sheward said.

If passed into law, the new prison sentences would work like this. If a person tries to solicit someone between the ages of 13 and 16, or an undercover police officer, they would be guaranteed six months in prison.

If they offend again, that prison sentence goes up to 18 months. If that same person is approaching someone they believe is 12 or younger, they could spend as much as three years in prison.

If House Bill 208 passes any new law on online sexual predators would not change the sentences on those who already received probation.

10 Investigates found sexual predators who avoided the sex offender registry with plea deals. That means parents don't know where they live.  You can see their names and pictures at the link below.