TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today annou…

TALLAHASSEE – LAWFUEL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that an
Orlando man was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to
sexually soliciting a minor. John Scott Smith was charged with sexual
solicitation after he went to Jacksonville intending to have a sexual
encounter with a person he believed was a 13-year-old boy, but who in fact was an undercover Child Predator CyberCrime investigator from the Attorney General’s Office. His prison sentence will be followed by five years of sex offender probation and requires mandatory electronic monitoring and registration with the state as a sexual offender.

Smith, 36, was arrested last May after he used his computer to
solicit the “boy.” Within minutes of establishing contact, Smith had
already solicited his intended victim with vivid sexual details and later
e-mailed several sexual images of himself in order to convince the boy to
meet him the next day in Jacksonville. Less than 24 hours after the initial
meeting online, Smith traveled to the agreed upon location in Jacksonville
and was arrested by authorities.

“This case leaves to the imagination the horrors that could have
occurred if this victim had been real and if there were no efforts made to
stop this type of perversion,” said McCollum. “Without the dedicated work
by this unit, countless children would be at the mercy of these internet
predators.”

Smith pled guilty to two counts of soliciting an illegal act from a
minor via an online service and one count of transmission of material
harmful to minors, both third- degree felonies. In addition to his prison
and probation sentence, Smith must reimburse taxpayers for the cost of the
state’s investigation and prosecution. The case was prosecuted by the
Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.

Smith’s arrest was the 17th arrest made by officers with the Child
Predator CyberCrime Unit since its inception only eight months earlier. The
unit has arrested a total of 34 sexual predators in only fifteen months and
is expanding enforcement and prosecution of these crimes in Florida.

The CyberCrime Unit’s mission statement directs it to protect
children from computer-facilitated sexual exploitation. Unit members do
this by working cooperatively on a statewide basis with law enforcement
agencies and prosecutors to provide resources and expertise, while
preventing the spread of these crimes through education and community
awareness.

The agencies involved in this case were all members of the North
Florida Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, a federally
funded program working nationwide to educate and support law enforcement to
stop Internet crime against children.

A copy of the criminal charges filed against Smith is available at:
http://myfloridalegal.com/webfiles.nsf/WF/MRAY-6XHQJZ/$file/Smith_Information.pdf

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