Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Greg Stumbo Announces Arrests of Child Sexual Predators in Cyber Sting Investigation
Attorney General Greg Stumbo today held a press conference at the Capitol to announce an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of 11 alleged sexual predators from Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
The Attorney General’s Kentucky Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and Office of Consumer Protection coordinated the undercover operation with the Highland Heights and Campbell County Police Departments, Perverted Justice, the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, the Campbell County Jailer and the Campbell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, which will be prosecuting the cases.
“Last Thursday through Sunday these men, ages 24 to 59, drove from cities across Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio to a home in Highland Heights, Kentucky expecting to meet up with a 13 year old child they had been chatting with online,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “Instead, they came face to face with law enforcement.”
Click here to view sting video - the suspects’ faces have been covered at the request of the prosecutor.
The suspects were booked at the Highland Heights Police Department. Each has been charged with attempted unlawful transaction with a minor in the first degree, a Class B felony, punishable by 10-20 years in prison. The 11 suspects were arraigned this morning in at the Campbell County Detention Center and are being held at the Campbell County Detention Center on $100,000 cash bond. All criminal charges are merely accusations and all criminal defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
This is the second successful child sexual predator sting conducted by Attorney General Stumbo, the KBI and cooperating law enforcement. Seven sexual predators were arrested in an undercover operation in Louisville in October, 2006. In fact, 33 cases from that sting have been processed by Attorney General Stumbo’s office and referred to the United States Attorneys Office for review.
Like in the sting last Fall, the men arrested in Highland Heights assumed they had been chatting online with the child for a day or two, or in some cases, several days or weeks. They actually had been chatting with a volunteer from the watchdog group “Perverted Justice,” which was assisting law enforcement in the undercover operation. Perverted Justice has worked with Dateline NBC in its “To Catch a Predator” series and done similar work with law enforcement agencies around the country.
Typically, predators trolling online for children describe in detail the sexual acts they plan to perpetrate on the child. They may also send extremely sexually explicit pictures and show indecent video of themselves exposed. They may ask the child to send similar pornographic photos. They may bring condoms, drugs, alcohol or pornographic video to the planned meeting with a child.
“If you ever wondered how much of a problem we have with online sexual predators in Kentucky, I am here to tell you that child sexual predators are preying on our youth every single day,” stressed Attorney General Stumbo. “They get on social networking sites frequented by children and teens and pick their bait. We have developed cutting edge law enforcement techniques to meet the evolving dangers faced by our children. It is up to us as parents, teachers, law enforcement and prosecutors to make sure young people realize the very real dangers that lurk in online chatrooms.”
Perverted Justice volunteers never initiated the online chats and never had any sexual conversation until initiated by the predator. Predators believe they are chatting with a child away from adult supervision. The child’s age is always revealed in the first few lines of the chat and the child’s online profiles include photos.
The Office of the Attorney General has been coordinating with Perverted Justice and planning the Highland Heights sting operation for several months. Its aim is to get sexual predators off the streets, send a message to other predators that they are being watched and alert and inform parents, guardians and young people of the dangers lurking online.
The suspects include a university employee, a retired US Army Sergeant, a warehouse supervisor, an electrician, a truck driver and a fast food worker.
“We hope to make children aware that the seemingly harmless chat they have with an older stranger online could turn into a dangerous situation,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “Online predators see children as easy prey and are more than willing to use and abuse them and ultimately leave them with emotional and possibly physical scars for life. Working together, we must increase public awareness of this serious threat to our children. Online predators will use email, instant messages, bulletin boards and chat rooms to gain a child’s confidence and arrange a meeting. Unfortunately, the ploy often works.”
The child sexual predator investigation continues as KBI agents, together with other law enforcement agencies, investigate other individuals who solicited sex online from our underage decoys.
Last November, Attorney General Stumbo formed an i-Shield Task Force to promote cybersafety in schools and communities throughout the Commonwealth. It is composed of specially trained law enforcement officers from across the state who work to educate our children, teachers and parents about online risks.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG), in conjunction with the Kentucky Center for School Safety (KCSS), has hosted two cybersafety programs called i-Jams. These i-Jams are one-day programs that feature national Internet Safety spokespeople and law enforcement experts. The OAG, with the assistance of KCSS and local law enforcement agencies is also conducting high-tech assemblies in middle and high schools highlighting Internet safety risks from predators, cyber-bullies and social networking sites.
There is also a cyber-safety section on the Attorney General’s website (www.ag.ky.gov/cybersafety) that contains tips and information for both children and parents regarding online dangers such as cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, identity theft and Internet virus and worms.
Mug shots of the suspects, their age, residence and type of employment are available at: