An online sting by the private group Perverted Justice and law enforcement made splashy headlines in the Cincinnati area in March 2006 with 17 arrests of men hoping to have sex with a teenage girl. Long after the media cameras are packed away, an overwhelming majority of people convicted in such cases in the region get little or no jail time, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
There have been at least 141 Internet sex-sting busts in 5 Cincinnati-area counties from 2003 through 2006. The Enquirer obtained details on 46 of those arrests. An analysis shows that almost one-quarter of the men didn’t go to jail at all. Twenty were sentenced to three months or fewer, with the majority of those getting a month in jail. The harshest sentence – six months – went to nine people. “And Ohio says we are protecting our children?” asked detective Mike Burns. Watchdogs, police, and prosecutors say this same sentencing trend playing out in most areas of the U.S. while online attempts to lure children into sex have soared.