Polk County Sheriffs Office Press Release
Operation Cyber Guardian Fall Haul News Conference
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office will be having a news conference today, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 at 11:00 a.m., where Sheriff Grady Judd will discuss a recent undercover operation targeting on-line child predators.
PCSO undercover detectives conducted a six-day undercover traveler operation from October 2 through October 7, 2018. Detectives posed as girls and boys online—on social media platforms and on-line dating sites—to investigate those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity.
The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children between the ages of 13 and 14 for sex acts. They all showed up to a location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, many of them bringing condoms and lubricant, but instead were greeted by detectives.
Thirteen arrests were made including one man who said he knew he was HIV positive and solicited a boy who he thought was 14 to engage in unprotected sex. Others arrested include a former military police officer who had been previously arrested, convicted, and is on federal probation for lewd/Lascivious Molestation of a child; a Lake Mary man who was arrested in Seminole County in November 2017 for obscene communication with a minor, a man who brought a new I-Phone 8+ as a gift along with sex toys, condoms, lubricant, and male enhancement pills; a cook at a Disney resort; and a food runner at Disney restaurant. Those arrested include men in their twenties, thirties and fifties. The men arrested were from Kissimmee, Montverde, Lake Mary, Davenport (2), Winter Haven, Orlando (6), and Holiday.
“These predators are out there, trying to sexually seduce and violate children. They lurk in chat rooms and online, ready to groom children for sex. Fortunately, because of the great work of our detectives, at least 13 of them won’t be doing that any time soon. The things that these predators say to children they believe are 13 and 14 are vile and disgusting. Even seasoned, trained detectives are repulsed. The bottom line is that these predators need to be locked up and kept away from children.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
The 13 arrested face a total of 58 charges (57 felonies, 1 misdemeanor) which include: attempted lewd lascivious molestation, using a communication device to commit a felony, attempted uninformed HIV infected sexual intercourse, traveling to meet a minor for the purposes of sex, attempted lewd battery, and transmitting material harmful to a minor.