Topless Woman Lured Perverts in Police Sting


    Topless Woman Lured Perverts in Police Sting

    *warning sexual content*

    Firefighter Busted for Exposing Himself to Sunbather Appeals 'Entrapment' Conviction

    Law enforcement officials say that sting operations like these are an extremely effective means of lowering crime rates and stopping the criminally minded before they commit worse offenses. Opponents call it entrapment. (ABC News)


    Dec. 28, 2007 —

    Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.

    He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.

    Eventually, she asked to see Garrison's penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.

    Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city's parks, exposing more than that is against the law.

    The case is just one of the more extreme examples of police stings aimed at luring people into committing crimes, a tactic that has resulted in hundreds of arrests, many convictions and plenty of controversy.

    Law enforcement officials say that such sting operations are an extremely effective means of lowering crime rates and stopping the criminally minded before they commit worse offenses. From early 2006 to the spring of 2007, there were 160 citations for public indecency in the city, according to an investigation by 10TV News. Among those who were caught in the stings: an Ohio State University doctor, government employees and a retired highway trooper.

    But such operations veer dangerously close to entrapment, say lawyers, civil libertarians and defendants who've been caught in sting operations.

    At Garrison's trial, his attorney argued that it was a case of entrapment. "Columbus police utilized this topless woman to snare this man," said Sam Shamansky. "He sees her day after day. He's not some seedy pervert."

    The argument failed to sway a Franklin County Municipal Court jury that found Garrison guilty of public indecency last month. He was ordered to stay away from the park, placed on a year's probation and fined $250. Currently, Garrison remains on paid desk duty while the fire department conducts an internal investigation into his behavior.

    "We want to be held to a higher standard, we are in the community every day and we put our best foot forward, but sometimes we stumble and make a mistake," said Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Doug Smith.

    Garrison could not be reached for comment.

    Shamansky plans to appeal the verdict on the grounds that the jury wasn't instructed on the definition of entrapment.

    Other police departments across the country have dangled other temptations, from big-screen plasma TVs, Xbox 360 consoles and a shopping bag containing a cell phone and an iPod to catch people breaking the law.

    In New York City, nearly 300 people, many of whom had no criminal record, have been snared this year through the NYPD's Operation Lucky Bag, in which undercover officers leave a wallet, iPod or cell phone in a subway station and wait to see who picks it up.
    Although deputy police Commissioner Paul Browne says the program has helped cut subway grand larcenies by half, critics say that the police have gone too far.

    "It's pretty straightforward that this is a police-created crime," said Legal Aid Society lawyer Alex Lesman, who defended a man arrested for taking a bag containing an Xbox video game box, a Sprint cell phone and cash. "The police set this whole thing up.

    They shouldn't be doing that and luring people in that situation, especially in this age of terrorism where the transit system is always telling you to be on the lookout for suspicious bags."

    The judge agreed with Lesman, acquitting his client, Antonio Arroyo. "The police should concentrate their noble efforts on behalf of the city on countering real crimes committed every day," wrote Kings County criminal court judge Matthew A. Sciarrino Jr. "They do not need to manipulate a situation where temptation may overcome even people who would normally never think of committing a crime."

    Other lawyers have argued on behalf of their clients that the operation may also violate New York's personal property law, which allows someone who finds property worth more than $25 10 days to turn it in to the owner or the police.

    An NYPD spokesperson emphasized that Operation Lucky Bag does not use abandoned property; rather it is property actively left by an officer who is still in the vicinity. In addition, it is used at stations where similar crimes have been reported.

    Another sting operation that made headlines involved police in El Paso, Texas, and U.S. Marshals sending out messages to wanted felons stating that they had "won" free Xbox 360 consoles and/or big-screen plasma TVs. The operation led to 115 arrests last month and the police picked up more than $25,000 in traffic fines.

    This ploy, which has been used in other cities in recent years, is a new twist on an old trick, because sting operations involving drugs and prostitutes have been around for decades. And though defendants often claim entrapment, that argument rarely works in those kind of cases.

    "The definition of entrapment is police activity that induces somebody to commit a crime that they otherwise wouldn't do," said Gabriel Chin, law professor at the University of Arizona. "It's not entrapment to give somebody an opportunity to commit a crime."

    Chin explains that entrapment involves an officer cajoling and persuading someone who's resistant to the idea of committing a crime. "Just preying on a predisposition is not necessarily entrapment."

    But he said that Operation Lucky Bag seemed to cross a line, especially when compared to longstanding police operations involving officers posing as drunks to lure muggers to take their wallets or jewelry.

    "Very few people who see a drunk with gold chains or an old lady with money sticking out of her purse succumb to temptation and assault that person," he said. "But lots and lots of people wouldn't turn in a wallet when it's full of money. You could ask whether it's an appropriate use of police resources. If we really want to criminalize people who do what we don't want them to do, a lot of people would be in jail."

    The temptation may just be too powerful. "I've found $5 on the street and put it in my pocket," said Chin. "If I found $5,000 on the street, I hope I would do something different."
  2. Oh, man, if this is true, that's entrapment, pure and simple.

    Another forum I belong to is about some of the methods used by police to snare predators, most of them being men who are only guilty because of being encouraged by a decoy.
  3. Yeah, that is entrapment. They shouldn't be doing this...
  4. Wow, can't they not make better use of their time.
  5. ...are there not more pressing issues for police to be addressing than a guy trying to get a little action from a woman that's encouraging him and already LEGALLY half-naked?
  6. Of course there is, this is why I am so against "creating" crimes. It's gotten horribly out of hand, and while the cops are waiting in vans and behind trees to "bust" some guy who's been teased by this woman, drug dealers and the like are happily running their little businesses.

    I just don't understand why we allow this to go on.
  7. Funny, in my hometown there was a park that no one wanted to take their kids to anymore and no one would be in during the late afternoon, let alone evening. The park had become a haven for men picking up other men and having sex and for drug dealers.

    The police took care of the problem not by having officers pose as men looking for sex or drug dealers, but by PATROLLING THE PARK! That probably takes either just as many or fewer resources than having a van waiting to arrest a guy who has been encouraged by a half-naked woman.

    I agree that parks need to be cleaned up if there are people exposing themselves and masturbating, but this isn't the way to do it.
  8. That is so ridiculous!!! First of all, to put a topless woman in the park and expect that NOT to attract attention is ridiculous.

    Secondly, I'm extremely bothered at the fact that she asked him to see his penis. It's not like he just whipped it out (lol). I don't understand how they got away with this? I think it's bullsh*t to be honest.
  9. That really got to me too. A BIG part of entrapment laws is for the bust to make the first move. Like with hookers, they must first bring up the topic of sex for money.

    I can see the defense lawyer having fun with this... the cops are going to have egg on their face when it hits the mass media market.

    It also bothered me about the Ny subway cops leaving cell phones and the like for the picking up. How do they know the person who picked it up didn't plan on trying to return it to it's owner? Twice I've brought stary dogs home only to call their owner and get them back to their homes, can you imagine some cop busting me for dognapping? It's going to get so people won't talk to ANYONE no matter WHAT in case it's a set-up.
  10. Unfortunately sex-related crimes are on the rise and law enforcement (IMO) are going overboard.

    Example of a case I once worked on (some of the facts have been changed):

    A man was accused of indecent exposure in a public place in the middle of the day. Woman called police and reported him. Police responded, found no evidence that he was flashing anyone, but arrested him anyway. The man was married and the arrest made the local papers, which resulted in his employer also becoming aware of the incident.

    He hired an attorney (who in turn hired me) and it turns out that the woman who accused him had been in and out of State hospitals for years and had also filed a false rape report about five years prior. IN SPITE OF THIS the prosecutor in the town where this event took place still insisted on moving forward with the prosecution based on this woman's testimony.

    This man and his attorney told the prosecutor that they would proceed to trial. On the DAY OF THE TRIAL, the charges were dropped. This man spent over 10k on the attorney and the legal investigation into the woman's background. He had no prior criminal history and even paid for a psych eval to certify that he was not a sexual predator.

    If he had not had the $$ to fight this, he'd have likely had to plead guilty to misdemenor indecent exposure. In this State, there is a push in the legislature to require anyone convicted of misdemenor indecent exposure to register as sex offendors. RETROACTIVELY. This means a kid who is arrested for mooning someone as a joke and is convicted would fall into this category as well.

    This man almost lost his job over this and the arrest, even though charges were dropped, will follow him around anyway- since they can be found if a background check is done on him for any jobs he may want to apply for. Not to mention the emotional distress caused to him and his family by a mentally unstable woman.

    There are some serious problems with this system right now.
  11. I would think there are more important issues for law enforcement to use tax payer money on. :tdown:

    Roo, that's terrible! that poor mans family! :sad:
  12. It happens every day, unfortunately. :tdown:

  13. Exactly:push:
  14. Roo is right. Just the Dateline "To Catch A Predator" programs show how men like this can be tried, convicted and executed in the media LONG before they actually go to court. And they dare call it news. It's sensational TV, and under the guise of being a "news" show, the men have NO rights long before they go before a judge. The "consultation" group they work with is nothing more than a hate site set up to vilify these people over and over. I have problems with a vigilante grooup telling the Law Enforcement officials how to contuct a sting.

    Roo is correct on the Registered Sex Offenders sites too... they don't differenciate between a serial rapist and someone who "mooned" his classmates when he was 15. Sad.
  15. I think they throw the term Sex Offender around too much these days. I understand child molestors having to register, but someone having to register because they were arrested for mooning someone? Come on! Whatever happened to accepting the punishment of the crime and moving on? Now that mooner's life could be ruined, and all because people are WAY to Puritanical these days!