The McLennan County Sheriff’s Department and the Bell County Sheriff’s Department Special Crimes Unit have recently reported the arrests of 20 male individuals, including 13 active-duty soldiers posted at Fort Hood, following a lengthy prostitution sting operation. While an official claimed that the arrests would help the local community by penalizing “predators,” the methods used by the deputies could potentially be classified as entrapment, an unjust form of criminal investigation that coerces people into committing crimes in order to arrest them.
Agents put online advertisements that proffered prostitution services within Bell County on several websites. It is not known at this time if the websites used were specifically chosen to target men and/or soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas. After an individual followed the instructions on the website advertisements, text messaging was used to communicate with the suspected solicitor regarding specific services, potential prices, and a meeting location at a local hotel. Once they had entered the hotel room, the men who arrived at the door were arrested.
The details of every step of the prostitution sting will need to be closely reviewed to look for possible signs of illegal entrapment. The specifics of conversations between the suspects and the undercover agents will also need to be analyzed thoroughly. Vague, indirect, or otherwise inquiring statements from suspects regarding sexual services may not be enough to actually constitute solicitation crimes.
All 20 men are urged to seek legal counsel as soon as possible since every action taken and every word uttered after their arrest can and will most likely be used against them in a court of law. The penalties for engaging in prostitution and other similar sex crimes can include high fines and imprisonment upon conviction. However, the 13 Fort Hood soldiers arrested in this Bell County prostitution sting could potentially face immediate consequences that impact their military careers, such as rank reduction or dishonorable discharge, even if they are only charged and never convicted. A military criminal defense attorney may be necessary for each defendant, given the circumstances.
(For more information regarding this ongoing story, ArmyTimes posted an online article that can be read in full by clicking here.)
Attorney Joseph L. Jordan is a military sex crimes defense lawyer with years of legal experience taking on cases for members of all branches of the United States Armed Forces who have been posted in bases all around the country and the world. As a firm believer that the nation’s protectors deserve unwavering legal defense when accused of serious crimes, Mr. Jordan has built a reputation for thoroughness during pre-trial investigations and holding a “never back down” spirit during court martials. If you are a military service member who was arrested for soliciting prostitution during a sting operation in Fort Hood or elsewhere, contact Attorney Joseph L. Jordan at your first chance by calling (866) 361-4723.