It seems like you can’t throw a web cam these days without hitting a lawyer trying to use the internet to sexually prey on our kids. Reference recent lawyers of the day here and here, for just a couple of examples. And remember that prosecutor in Texas that blew his head off because To Catch a Predator was coming? Well, here’s another one:
An attorney arrested in an Internet child-sex sting in the basement of the Ohio Statehouse thought he was going to meet a 15-year-old girl he had met online, authorities said.
Barry Mentser, 48, a former children’s services lawyer, was taken into custody Wednesday moments after the police officer who conducted the sting testified two floors above in favor of a bill that would increase penalties for such offenses.
Lt. Jeff Braley, a detective from Hamilton Township in Warren County in southwest Ohio, said he posed as the girl to set up a Statehouse meeting with the man.
Wow, the Statehouse, really? Is that the hot hangout spot for the teenagers in Columbus? Perhaps Mentser should have been a little suspicious.
What’s the deal with all these lawyers getting busted for this? Is there something about the legal profession that drives lawyers to this in higher than usual numbers? Or do we just hear about all the lawyers that get busted because everybody hates lawyers and is looking for any excuse to ridicule them? We suspect it’s the latter, but we’re still given a little pause by it all.
A little more discussion after the jump.
Attorney Seeking 15-Year-Old Girl He Met Online Arrested in Sex Sting at Ohio Statehouse [FOX News]
The good news for Mentser is that Ohio doesn’t appear to punish these offenses very harsly when no actual sexual contact is involved:
Current Ohio law doesn’t require prison sentences for people convicted of importuning by telecommunications. Many judges say sexual acts typically don’t occur in undercover stings, so they take a “no harm, no foul” stance and sentence offenders to just weeks in jail and probation, Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel said after testifying before the committee.
Ironically, the officer who arrested Menster was at the Statehouse testifying before a committee in an attempt to get the penalties in these very scenarios raised.