Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Human trafficking is an abhorrent, worldwide crime that is happening right here in Florida. Victims of human trafficking include children, women and men who are subjected to sexual exploitation or forced labor through force, fraud or coercion. I am dedicated to making Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking, and government at the federal, state and local levels must be engaged in the fight. This week, I joined a coalition of 49 attorneys general in calling on Congress to amend the Communications Decency Act to help stop prostitution and child sex trafficking.
In a letter to key members of Congress, we advocated that Congress amend the Act to provide criminal jurisdiction to state and local prosecutors. When the Communications Decency Act of 1996 was drafted, the Internet was in its infancy. The original purpose of the Act was to protect children from accessing indecent material online, but courts have interpreted certain provisions of the Act to provide immunity from state prosecution to online classified ad sites, such as Backpage.com, that promote and profit from human trafficking.
Prostitution is a local crime. Absent interstate travel, federal property, or the involvement of a minor, prostitution is not a federal crime. While the Communications Decency Act provides criminal authority to the federal government, we believe that criminal jurisdiction needs to be extended to help combat these crimes.
By updating federal law, we can give prosecutors the tools they need to crack down on those who use technology to exploit children. Changing this law is just one more way we can work toward accomplishing the goal of ending human trafficking in our state.
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Arrest Woman for Neglect of an Elderly Adult
This week, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office arrested Shelia Angelene Mayes, a Blountstown resident, and charged her with one count of neglect of an elderly adult.
An investigation by the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit revealed that Mayes willfully neglected to provide a nursing home resident with care and services at Blountstown Health and Rehabilitation Center. Mayes failed to follow the care plan and facility policy by not turning the victim for a period of almost five hours, causing the victim to sustain bed sores.
Mayes is charged with one count of neglect of an elderly adult, a third degree felony. If convicted, she faces up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Mayes’ employment with the facility has been terminated.