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11 Virginia men arrested in child sex sting

Eleven Virginia men have been arrested following a five-month child sex sting operation carried out by the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office Child Exploitation Unit. The investigation began in October 2016 and concluded in early February.

Spotsylvania investigators said the defendants believed they were chatting with a 13-year-old girl on a social media website, but they were actually communicating with an undercover deputy. It wasn't long before the conversations turned sexual, and the men allegedly sent explicit photos of themselves to the "teen" and asked for pictures in return. Eventually, nine of the men agreed to meet the teen somewhere in the Spotsylvania area.

Four of the defendants are Spotsylvania residents, and three others are from Caroline County. Another man traveled from Amelia, one from Henrico and another one from Stafford. The remaining defendant had no fixed address. The defendants range in age from 20 to 64. All 11 men have been charged with various crimes related to the solicitation of a minor child. Some of them are repeat offenders. A representative with the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Department said the sting operation underscores how important it is for parents to monitor their children's online activity.

Many individuals convicted of sex crimes face severe penalties including lengthy incarceration and heavy fines. They are also required to register on the state's sex offender list, which can greatly diminish their future educational and employment opportunities. However, every defendant has the right to fight the charges and protect his or her future with the help of a criminal defense attorney. Lawyers may thoroughly investigate the details of the case and research relevant case law to help build strong defenses for their clients. An attorney could also support a defendant during every hearing, ensuring that his or her rights and interests are protected throughout the legal process.

Source: NBC 12, "11 arrested across VA in child sex sting," Feb. 12, 2017

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