POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WSVN) — Deputies in Central Florida made over a dozen arrests as part of an undercover operation targeting suspected child predators.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced on Tuesday the arrests of 17 people as part of Operation: Child Predator. The operation took place between July 27 and Aug. 1, and the arrests were made with the help of several other law enforcement agencies.
“These are nasty, nasty people,” said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd, according to Fox 13. “We can’t even use the words that they used. We obviously can’t show the pictures and video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys.”
Deputies said the suspects all communicated with people who they believed were between the ages of 13 and 14 and solicited sex acts. Investigators said the suspects all showed up to an undercover location at different times to meet the “children,” and that some of the suspects also sent pornographic images.
The group faces a combined 49 felony charges and two misdemeanor charges. Among the charges include traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child and more.
The suspects range between 26 years old and 47 years old, and some of them have previous criminal histories. All are from Florida, except for one who is from California.
Among those arrested was a registered nurse and three Walt Disney World employees. Investigators also said two of the suspects reported that they are military veterans.
Deputies said one of the Disney World employees, 26-year-old Kenneth Javier Aquino, told investigators that he worked as a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Deputies said when he arrived at the undercover location, he was still wearing his Disney polo shirt, swimming trunks and Crocs. He also told detectives he is a Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend.
The sheriff’s office said two other suspects, 34-year-old Jonathan McGrew and 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence, are in a relationship. Deputies said McGrew spoke to who he believed was a 13-year-old girl and told her that he wanted her to come and have sex with him and his girlfriend.
Investigators said McGrew sent the “teen” videos of the couple performing sex acts on each other, and that Lawrence accompanied McGrew to the meet-up location. Both were arrested without incident.
To read the sheriff’s office full release, click here.
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