The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has successfully conducted an undercover child sex sting operation that led to the arrest of 13 suspects. A former military police officer and a cook who was working for a Disney resort, both trusted professions, were among the men who were taken into custody.
The undercover operation began on October 2 when officers from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department began posing as young girls and boys on various social media platforms. The officers continued the rouse through October 7. Over the course of six days, the 13 suspects all communicated with the undercover detectives. Each one of the suspects made plans to meet the children to solicit sexual acts from them and showed up to a location predetermined by the Polk County officers. Authorities confirmed that multiple suspects arrived at the meeting spot packing sex items like lubricant and condoms.
The child predators face a combined 58 charges including using a communication device to commit a felony, attempted lewd lascivious molestation, traveling to meet a minor for the purposes of sex, attempted lewd battery and transmitting material harmful to a minor.
One of the predators who were captured admitted to knowing he was HIV positive. He confessed that he had attempted to solicit a boy who he believed was only 14-years-old to have unprotected sex with him, which would likely transmit the disease to the unknowing victim. He reportedly told the undercover detectives that he did not have any diseases when he was chatting with them online. Police have charged this suspect with a count of attempted uniformed HIV infected sexual intercourse in addition to his other charges.