Three employees of The Walt Disney Company were among the 17 arrested in a recent Florida child predator sting, Breitbart reported Tuesday, citing a press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Those who were arrested thought they were communicating with children on the internet when they were actually talking to undercover detectives, Sheriff Grady Judd said of the six-day sting operation.
“These are nasty, nasty, nasty people. When we go through this understand that obviously we can’t even use the words that they used. We obviously can’t show you the pictures and the video clips they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys,” Judd said, according to Breitbart.
49 felony charges total
The 17 suspects are facing a combined 49 felony charges, including traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and transmission of material harmful to a child, the press release said.
Judd also reported that six of the suspects bought condoms, and that nine suspects have criminal histories, with 27 total previous felonies, and 22 total previous misdemeanors.
All the suspects except one were men between 26 and 47 years old, and all except one resided in the Central Florida area. The other was visiting from California.
The woman arrested was the girlfriend of one of the men arrested, police said.
“Downside of social media”
Judd said it was entirely possible that the suspects had already committed other crimes against children before their arrest, but had not been caught.
“That’s the downside of social media. It’s made the predators easier to get to the children. And they are online scouring for children, so don’t think that this was their first time and don’t think that they haven’t found some child in the past to attack,” he told reporters, according to Breitbart.
One of the suspects was reportedly an Animal Kingdom lifeguard and showed up in his uniform to the undercover location where he was arrested.
Two others, a man and his girlfriend, said they were custodians at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios. They sent undercover detectives videos of them performing sex acts on each other.
Others arrested in the sting included a registered nurse, a general contractor, a manager at Starbucks, and a U.S. military veteran, the sheriff’s office said.