Police said a longtime Disney World employee and a public badger were among 13 sexual predators caught in an undercover sting operation in Florida.
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Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, working jointly with “To Catch a Predators” Chris Hansen, accused the Polk County Sheriff’s Office of attempting to “sexual abuse, groom and corrupt” children. Suspects targeted.
During the week-long operation, dubbed “Operation Cyber Guardian II”, officers posed as teenage boys and girls – some as young as 13, Fox 13 told,
Eight suspects appeared at a secret location in Polk County believing they were meeting a minor for sex, The sheriff’s office said in a statement, Police obtained warrants for the arrest of five others in different countries.
The three suspects believed they were talking to a parent or guardian of a child who wanted to teach their child to have sex or to arrange for a minor to have sex with a suspect.
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The 13 men collectively face 41 felony counts and three misdemeanor charges, including: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted felony battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, two Unlawful use of one-way communication equipment and transmission of harmful material to a child.
According to the sheriff’s office, two suspects told detectives they were married, two had brought condoms to a secret location and two had brought illegal drugs.
Among those arrested was Kevin Sanders, 42, of Winter Garden, who was detained at Disney World, where he has worked for 16 years, Sheriff Judd said.
Officials said Sanders worked as an IT support specialist at the park, but previously worked as a member of Disney’s Youth Education Series program, which provides accredited educational programs to students ages 5-18.
Sanders, a married father of two young children, reportedly began exchanging messages on August 29 with an undercover cop he believed to be a 13-year-old girl. He reportedly told her he wanted to perform on the child and told the sheriff’s department that they “have to be careful” because of his age.
Police allege that Sanders had previously engaged with undercover officers whom he believed to be young girls, but always cut off communication before actually traveling to meet the minor.
He was booked at the Orange County Jail and charged with delivering harmful material to a minor and using a computer to solicit sex to a child.
Officials said 28-year-old Joshua Cummins was also arrested after allegedly traveling to a secret location thinking he would meet a 14-year-old girl for sex. He told police that he was employed as a construction subcontractor and was currently building a new rollercoaster at Disney.
He was charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex, using a two-way communication device to commit a felony, and attempted indecent battery. He was released on a bond of $18,000.
Public grocery store badger Matthew Silva, 33, was arrested after allegedly sending sexually explicit messages and nude photos to an undercover officer he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
Silva was charged with delivering harmful material to a minor and using a computer to have sex with a child.
Sheriff Judd said, “Parents please involve everyone in your child’s business when it comes to the use of electronic devices that give them online gaming, mobile applications, texting or access to the Internet.” “Check their equipment regularly, and make sure parental controls are enabled to keep such men away from your children.”