Lawyers, Liars, and Virtual Predators.

LCDR Shawn Gray, USCG.(In Center of photo)

Lieutenant Commander Shawn Gray,U S Coast Guard, an attorney and officer with the U.S. Coast Guard Judge Advocate General Corps, drove from his home in Miami to Sarasota recently to meet an 8-year-old girl he had met in a chat room. But when LCDR Gray arrived in Sarasota County, to a house where he thought the child would be home alone, he was instead greeted by Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputies who arrested him. “He had hoped to have sex with an 8-year-old girl,” Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight said of Gray, who was charged with use of a computer and traveling to seduce, solicit or entice a child to commit sex acts. LCDR Gray is being charged with a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, said Chief Assistant State Attorney Ed Brodsky. LCDR Gray was one of 31 nabbed in a six-day sting called Operation Intercept, an attempt to protect Manatee and Sarasota counties’ children from online predators, Knight said Monday during a news conference at the sheriff’s office in downtown Sarasota. Two of the 31 arrested were from Miami-Dade County. Besides LCDR Gray, 21-year-old Dalbert Borges of Hialeah was also charged with the same crime. All 31 suspects responded to Internet-based ads and engaged in sexually explicit written and verbal conversation, according to a Sarasota Sheriff’s Office press release. What also is disturbing about the sting, in which the sheriff’s office also was able to take the suspect’s vehicles as “tools of their trade,” is that this form of predation seems to be able to fool children who are not fooled when someone tries to entice them in person. “This is a different way of doing the stranger danger, and now they are using technology,” said Venice Chief of Police Thomas McNulty. “An informed child is a child not likely to be victimized,” McNulty added. The suspects all agreed to come to a secret location in Sarasota County with the intent to have sex with a child or children.

LT Jason Frank, USCG.

LT Jason Frank, U S Coast Guard, a Gaithersburg, Maryland man who repeatedly sneaked into a Stafford County, Virginia teenager’s room to have sex with her pleaded guilty to six charges in 2008. Jason F. Frank, 37, was convicted in Stafford Circuit Court to three counts of computer solicitation of a minor, two counts of carnal knowledge and attempted carnal knowledge. He faced a maximum penalty of 55 years in prison. According to evidence presented by prosecutor Lori DiGiosia, Frank met the girl on MySpace a few years ago and communicated with her by phone and text-messaging. LT Frank, a member of the Coast Guard was assigned to the Command Center Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington DC. He is married and has a teenage daughter. He told the Stafford girl that his name was “Eric” and that he was 28 years old. He came to see the girl at her home at least three times, according to the evidence. He entered the home in the middle of the night through her bedroom window. In September and December of 2006, LT Frank and the girl had consensual sex. He told her that he loved her and that she was special to him. They were about to have sex again on August 1, 2007 DiGiosia said, but the girl’s mother heard a noise and came downstairs and confronted LT Frank.

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