WINTER HAVEN, FLORIDA - According to Fox13News.com, seventeen people were arrested in an undercover child predator sting operation in Central Florida. The suspects engaged in conversation, solicited, and traveled to meet who they thought were young teenagers to have sex. However, once the suspects arrived, they soon realized they had been chatting online with undercover detectives from several Central Florida law enforcement agencies. The undercover child predator sting operation caught a registered nurse, three Walt Disney World employees, and a married California man who was visiting Central Florida from California.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the online undercover child predator sting operation resumed for almost a week and targeted people who use the Internet to lure and prey on children. A total of 17 suspects were arrested and charged with a count of 9 felonies and two misdemeanors.
Sheriff Grady Judd stated that he couldn't use the words that suspects used, and he couldn't show the pictures or the video clips that the suspects sent to who they thought were little girls and little boys. Sixteen of the seventeen suspects who were arrested lived in Central Florida.
Three of the suspects work for Disney. One of the suspects is a lifeguard at the Animal Kingdom Lodge hotel. The other two were custodians at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. Sherriff Judd stated that one of the suspects "left his pregnant girlfriend to have sex with a 13-year-old."
The two custodians, a 34-year-old Kissimmee man, and a 29-year-old woman from Kissimmee, who are in a relationship, believed that they were meeting a 13-year-old girl to have a threesome. The man stated to who he thought was a young girl that they wanted to enjoy the opportunity and did not want to rush. The suspect also stated that it was their "fantasy to play stepdad, stepdaughter, stepmom; teacher, student; maybe even shoplifter where we do a strip search." The suspect stated several illegal things to the child prior to showing up to meet the girl.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office worked with the police departments in Orlando, Auburndale, Winter Haven, and with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The suspects are at the Polk County Jail awaiting their hearings. The suspects were mostly in their mid-thirties to their late forties.
All of the suspects were charged with Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex and Attempted Lewd Battery. The following is a list of the types of criminal charges that were filed.
- Attempted Lewd Battery
- Giving False info to LEO
- Introduction of Contraband into a Detention Facility
- Misrepresenting Age Online/Use of Computer to Seduce a Child
- Possession of PCP
- Possession of Paraphernalia
- Transmission of Material Harmful to Minor
- Traveling to Meet a Minor For Sex
- Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device
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