Law enforcement frequently uses undercover sting operations during a criminal investigation. So-called confidential informants may be used in setting up a sting. In today’s electronic age, stings may be created using fake online profiles, or through the use of online advertisements that troll for alleged unlawful activity.

A recent sting conducted by the Cyber Crimes Task Force in Boone County has led to the arrest of a man on suspicion of sex crimes. Authorities claim that law enforcement received a tip that the man had allegedly offered someone money in an effort to have sex with a child. Officials apparently decided to target the man in an undercover sting to create evidence for use in criminal charges against him. It is not clear from a news report carried by KOMU News what methods the task force used in targeting the man in the sting.

Agents arranged to have a person pose as the mother of a young child willing to prostitute her offspring. Investigators claim that the man communicated with the undercover agent and offered money to have sex with the alleged mother’s child. Authorities with the Cyber Crimes Task Force claim that the undercover agent arranged a meeting in Columbia, Missouri, where the man was arrested on suspicion of attempted statutory rape. Law enforcement claims that the man had a cellphone containing images of alleged child pornography. Formal charges reportedly have not yet been filed.

In general, a person under suspicion of having committed a crime may consult with a criminal defense lawyer during an investigation. When a person is in formal custody, the stakes may be higher. Certainly, formal custody is considered a critical stage of the criminal process—even if no charges have been filed. A person has the right to have an attorney present during a police interrogation, especially when in formal custody.

Source: KOMU, “Cyber Crimes Unit Says Suspect Wanted Sex with Child,” Michelle Schuelke, July 25, 2013