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Both an attorney and a magician, Howard Scott Kalin of Maryland was arrested on Monday after traveling to Florida with plans to have a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old boy he had spoken to over the internet.
Even though the boy and his caregiver were actually undercover police detectives, Kalin's mistake of fact is not sufficient to override his intent to commit what he knew to be a crime, making him liable under federal child prostitution statutes and local battery law.
Family law attorney and owner of a children's entertainment company, Howard Scott Kalin first contacted the undercover detectives in January. At some point he made plans to visit the boy and his caregiver to engage in sexual conduct.
Kalin travelled to Florida with a basketball and a movie for the boy, reports the Orlando Sentinel, but when he arrived at the pre-arranged meeting point, he was met by police.
He has since been charged with felony counts of traveling across state lines to meet a minor for sexual activity, using a computer for prohibited purposes, and attempted lewd or lascivious battery, according to the paper.
What's interesting about this situation is that, despite no child being involved, Kalin's mistake of fact did not deter prosecutors from filing charges.
This is because mistake of fact is not an outright defense to most crimes.
More often than not, a defendant is held responsible for his actions if they would have constituted a crime if the facts were as he believed them to be.
In other words, because Howard Scott Kalin believed that he was meeting a 14-year-old boy, which, if true, would have been a crime, his mistake of fact does not get him off the hook.
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