A particularly heinous brand of
sex crimes in Florida target children. Recently a joint effort organized between Pinellas County
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd targeted would-be
criminals, producing astonishing results.
Children are perhaps the most vulnerable individual in a digital world
where technology is increasingly prevalent among everyday lives. The anonymity
of the web has provided many sexual predators a medium to circumvent the
law, preying on minors in chat rooms and social media. The issue has prompted
Florida law enforcement into taking continual drastic action.
Following an effort infamously known as ‘Operation Cyber Vigilance’,
Florida law enforcement held a news conference on August 5th at the Polk
County Sheriff’s Office Operation Center. The Sheriff’s Office
announced 132 arrests and a total of 282 charges.
The operation is well known as the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force Spring/Summer
event in which perpetrators chat with “minors” over the Internet
with the clear intent to engage in sexual activity.
A series of 9 different sheriff’s offices worked in tandem to host
the ongoing operations, the majority of which contributed personnel and
other key resources throughout the investigation.
The official press release from the PCSO reports that the dozens of arrests
and hundreds of subsequent charges were amassed over a period of four
months. Suspects were arrested on various charges, the most common relating
to travel to meet a minor with sexual intent and using Internet services
to bait minors into explicit activities. Additional charges pertained
to active warrants, resisting arrest and possession of narcotics.
Law Enforcement Say Sexual Predators Have No “Clear Profile”
Sexual predators don’t always fit a clear profile. Suspects ranged
from all walks of life, spanning in age from early 30s to even mid-70s.
Most disconcertingly, a Disney Animal Kingdom employee was one of several
Investigators stress that parents must practice awareness. The presence
of sexual predators requires parents to increasingly monitor their children’s
(Original story reported by