Utah Man Soliciting Sex Entrapped in Felony Charges for Conspiracy to Commit Child Rape

A southern Utah man who was soliciting sex online was instead entrapped in felony charges for conspiracy to commit child rape.

Married man looking for fun

Entrapped by Police

Photo by: Jakub Hlavaty

22 year old Taylor John Hummel of St. George Utah was arrested after he posted an ad on a website known for sexual solicitation and stated he was married and looking for “discreet fun”. Law enforcement officers who were screening the website saw the ad and responded to Hummel. The undercover officer told Hummel that she would trade sex for money and then offered her fictional teenager daughter for an addition cost. Although hesitant, Hummel discussed the details then agreed to the arrangements and set up a time to meet.

Not what he wanted

Once Hummel arrived at the meeting place, he handed the undercover officer enough money for sexual favors from her but he did not exchange money for her daughter. Hummel was apparently uncomfortable with the idea of having sexual relations with the teenager. Hummel was then arrested for a class B misdemeanor sexual solicitation for paying the undercover agent for sex. Surprisingly, he was also charged with first-degree felony conspiracy to commit child rape for briefly agreeing to the undercover agent’s offer of sexual favors from the teen.

Entrapped in felony charges

Photo by: Anna Nowak

Although Hummel admitted to soliciting sex online, he did not state in his ad nor ask the undercover agent to have sexual relations with a minor. The undercover officer was the one who offered the fictional teen to Hummel, who otherwise may have never considered his ad would reach a juvenile. For this reason, it appears Hummel may have been entrapped by officers who were looking for a bigger fish to fry and instead made something more out of a guy looking for a hookup.

Entrapment

Claiming entrapment can be tricky. Utah Code 76-2-303 states “Entrapment occurs when a peace officer or a person directed by or acting in cooperation with the officer induces the commission of an offense in order to obtain evidence of the commission for prosecution by methods creating a substantial risk that the offense would be committed by one not otherwise ready to commit it.” However the same section also notes “Conduct merely affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense does not constitute entrapment.”

Legal counsel

Photo by: jseliger2

So did the officer convince Hummel to agree to sex with a minor or did they merely offer Hummel the opportunity which he agreed to? Does the fact that he didn’t want to go through with it show that if not offered, he probably would not have ever asked? All individuals facing criminal charges should have a professional criminal defense attorney working their case. When cases involve potential entrapment, it is vital to have a knowledgeable defense on your side to ensure that everything is handled fairly.

Provo Utah Man Arrested for Enticing a Minor Online

A 25 year old Provo Utah man was arrested for enticing a minor online after a 13 year old girl he was talking to turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Sex sting

Enticing a Minor

Photo by: Sage Ross

Nicholas Randy Lewis, a married student at BYU in Provo Utah was arrested earlier this month for enticing a minor after he was caught in a sex sting set up by Utah Valley Special Victim’s Task Force to catch online predators. Lewis had been chatting inappropriately for six months with someone who told him she was a 13 year old girl, when in fact it was an undercover officer. Lewis reportedly had sexually explicit conversations with the fake teen and sent her numerous pornographic photos of himself. Twice Lewis asked to meet the girl for sex and although he never actually showed up, he made the plans to engage in sexual activity with the minor which is known by Utah law as enticing a minor.

Enticing a minor

Utah Code 76-4-401 defines enticing a minor as “when the person knowingly uses the internet or text messaging to solicit, seduce, lure, or entice a minor, or to attempt to solicit, seduce, lure, or entice a minor, or another person that the actor believes to be a minor, to engage in any sexual activity which is a violation of state criminal law. “ Lewis is now facing multiple felonies for:

Dealing material harmful to a minor. This is in reference to the pornographic images he sent to someone he thought was a minor.

Enticing a minor since Lewis made the plans to engage in sexual activities with the teen, regardless of whether or not he ever intended to show up.

His inappropriate conversations online that he thought were secretive may have cost him years of freedom as well as thousands in fines.

Conversation starter

Photo by: Howard Kang

Photo by: Howard Kang

Whenever someone is arrested through a sting, there are several questions that come up. Utah Code 76-4-401 states, enticing a minor happens “when the person knowingly uses the internet or text messaging to initiate contact with a minor.” So who originally initiated the online conversation between Lewis and the fictitious teenage girl? Did he intentionally locate and make contact with someone he believed was a minor or did he just continue chatting with someone that sought him out first? Would he have had the same conversations with someone who was of legal age? Is the 25 year old married student with no criminal record really a predator or just someone who talked inappropriately to the wrong person?

Entrapment?

According to Utah law, an officer cannot induce or persuade a person to commit a crime, especially if they would not have been likely to do so anyway. Utah Code 76-2-303 states that “entrapment occurs when a peace officer or a person directed by or acting in cooperation with the officer induces the commission of an offense in order to obtain evidence of the commission for prosecution by methods creating a substantial risk that the offense would be committed by one not otherwise ready to commit it. “ However, under Utah law, giving someone the chance to commit a crime or as 76-2-303 calls “affording a person an opportunity to commit an offense does not constitute entrapment.”

Be represented

Photo by: frankieleon

Photo by: frankieleon

For those facing charges such as enticing a minor, contact an attorney immediately especially when the charges came about following a sting set up by police. The penalties for enticing a minor can range from a class C misdemeanor to a second degree felony, depending on what sexual activity the person was trying to entice the minor to engage in. With anywhere from three months to 15 years in jail on the line and the questionable gray area regarding police entrapment, it is recommended to speak with a criminal defense attorney about the case to ensure that the defendant is being treated fairly and that their rights are not being violated.

Police Entrapment

There’s a thin line between police setting up a legitimate bust to catch a criminal and entrapment. Entrapment is defined as: “the action of luring an individual into committing a crime in order to prosecute the person for it.”

Photo by: Alan Reeves

Photo by: Alan Reeves

Of one’s own accord

Police will regularly use tactics to catch criminals red-handed by providing opportunities for lawbreakers to commit a crime. However, oftentimes these tactics are considered entrapment when officers create a crime and lure others to fall victim to it. When law enforcement officers send in an undercover agent to buy drugs from a known dealer and the suspect receives the funds and pulls the goods from his coat pocket, it is likely that a crime probably would’ve been committed eventually without the law’s involvement. If the undercover officer hands money to a random citizen, asking them to go find locate drugs and the citizen completes the request, this could be a case of entrapment. If without the police’s coaxing the suspect (or victim) would not have committed a crime, then entrapment laws may apply.

Preying on human desires

One confusing area of entrapment is prostitution. Physical intimacy is a human, carnal desire. When someone intentionally seeks a way to fill this desire by paying another human, it is illegal. As long as the suspect is the one to initiate the quest to fulfill their sexual yearnings by either looking for someone working a corner or calling an ad on Craigslist, they are guilty. It may be considered entrapment though for an attractive undercover agent to prey on a lonely chap sitting alone at the bar, lead him back to a room where he is informed directly before the intimate moment that it isn’t free. Had the agent left the man alone in the company of his drink, chances are that he wouldn’t have gone looking for an expensive one night stand.

Entrapment or just fooled

So what constitutes entrapment and what is just bad luck for a would-be criminal? A few reasons that may be considered entrapment are when:

• There is no way the crime would have taken place without police’s involvement.

• An innocent, law abiding citizen was coerced by police into committing a crime they would normally not have done.

• Law enforcement officials use threats of harm to blackmail someone to do something illegal.

• Police repeatedly ask someone to commit a crime that they originally denied wanting involvement in.

If someone unknowingly offers law enforcement official drugs, or otherwise commits a crime willingly in front of undercover agents without inducement, they may have been fooled, yet it is perfectly legal.

Benefits of non-entrapment situations

Very often, stings are set up to catch criminals who are already in the act of committing a crime, or who would be very soon. When police are certain without a shadow of a doubt that a crime will be committed, it can be beneficial to be in a position to catch the guilty parties. This can lessen the aftermath that would be had they let the criminal follow through with their wrongdoing. This can protect innocent bystanders from falling victim to the crime taking place. Unfortunately, law officers don’t have to be certain or even have a hunch of a potential crime to set up a sting operation. As long as they refrain from forcing an individual from falling into their trap, it is not considered entrapment.

Entrapment Defense

Although entrapment does happen, it is often difficult to prove. Even if you may have been induced into committing a crime, if you are proven to be predisposed for that type of a crime, the judge may rule in the prosecutions favor. A criminal defense attorney can enlighten you as to your rights if you feel you’re the victim of entrapment and help to ensure a solid defense.