In November 2017 I blogged on the topic of talking to the police. In that blog, I explained it’s rarely advisable to speak with the police about your criminal case. Regardless of whether you’ve yet been arrested, it’s usually in your best interest to remain silent and to not talk with the police until you’ve consulted with your lawyer. Some recent arrests underscore why you shouldn’t talk with the police in connection with your sex crime case.
Seventeen men ranging in age from 19 to 77, including two Disney employees and a former middle school principal, were arrested in November 2019 in connection with a child pornography investigation in Polk County, Florida. The operation, called “Guardians of Innocence IV: Fall Haul 2019,” was conducted by undercover detectives and a computer crimes team. Many of the arrests resulted from referrals from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Among those arrested was Brett Kinney, aged 40. Mr. Kinney was a guest experience manager at Disney World, where he had worked for the last 15 years. Kinney was charged with 24 counts of possession of child pornography. Mr. Kinney told the officers he was addicted to child pornography and had been viewing it for 22 years.
While Mr. Kinney might have thought his comments to the police might help him, instead they most likely harmed his case. His statements indicate he had a very long-term child pornography addiction which, due to its two decade duration, would be difficult to treat. Because of his long-term pornography addiction, the prosecutor and/or the judge in Mr. Kinney’s case would be very concerned about his risk of reoffending after his arrest. To manage the risk of Mr. Kinney reoffending, they would be inclined to seek a lengthier prison and probationary term than if he were at a lower risk of reoffending. So, Mr. Kinney’s well-intended statement to police provided a basis for a longer prison term in his case.
Also arrested in the Polk County sex sting was 52 year-old Donald Durr Jr., a custodial worker for Walt Disney World Resorts. Durr was charged with eight counts of possession of child pornography. In an interview with detectives, Durr allegedly described himself as “a pervert, but not a monster.”
Like Mr. Kinney, Mr. Durr probably made his statement out of nervousness and a desire to help his case. But, it was not helpful to his case at all for Mr. Durr to call himself a “pervert.” Even if he obtained a favorable psychosexual evaluation in his case, it will be difficult, if not impossible, for Mr. Durr to shed his self-characterization as a sexual deviant. The amount of time he spends in prison and on subsequent probation for his crime will likely be longer to protect society from his acknowledged deviancy than had he not made his statement to police.
Finally, Christopher Drennen, 20, was arrested in the sting after giving his laptop to a friend to help remove naked pictures of children. After allegedly observing images of children including one involving a 3- to 6-month-old girl, however, the friend notified authorities.
Drennen was interviewed in connection with the incident. He told officers that if he did not view child pornography, he would sexually batter a child in real life.
Like the others, Mr. Drennen made this statement purportedly in his best interest. But also like the others, this statement was detrimental to Mr. Drennen’s case.
One of the concerns in child pornography cases is whether the viewer has any previous contact offenses or is predisposed to commit such offenses. Mr. Drennen’s statement that he needs to view child pornography to prevent himself from molesting children admits he presents a risk as a contact sex offender. As such, the outcome of his case will likely reflect the risk he presents to children in society in the form of a lengthier prison sentence followed by a term of extended sex offender probation.
As illustrated above, it’s generally never a good idea to talk to the police about any aspect of your sex crime matter. If you do, you run the very real risk of making your case worse and exposing yourself to lengthier terms of prison and/or probation. If you’re under investigation, or if you have been arrested for lewd or lascivious acts, sexual battery / rape, unlawful sex with minors, traveling to meet a minor for sex, unlawful use of a two-way communications device, or any other Florida sex crime, it’s important you don’t speak with the police about it until consulting with your lawyer. And, if you’ve already discussed your case or made a statement for the police, it’s important to consult a Jacksonville sex crimes lawyer to best help minimize any resultant damage to your case.
If you are under investigation or have been arrested for a sex crime in Jacksonville, Orange Park, Fleming Island, Green Cove Springs, Middleburg, Keystone Heights, Fernandina Beach, Yulee, Callahan, Hilliard, Macclenny, or surrounding areas, call me for a free consultation to discuss how I can help you get the best possible result.