Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Greg Stumbo Announces Arrests of Child Sexual Predators in Cyber Sting Operation

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, October 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Vicki Glass, 502-696-5643 Office  

Attorney General Greg Stumbo today held a press conference in the Capitol Rotunda to announce a sting operation that resulted in the arrest of seven sexual predators from across the state.

The Attorney General’s Kentucky Bureau of Investigation (KBI) and Office of Consumer Protection coordinated the undercover operation with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Louisville Metro Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Unit, Kentucky State Police, the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, Lexington Metro Police Department Crimes Against Children Unit, the New Albany Police Department, Floyd County, Indiana County Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and the Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, which will be prosecuting the cases.

“Last Friday through Sunday these men, ages 23 to 48, drove to a home in Louisville with one goal in mind – to victimize an innocent child,” said Attorney General Stumbo.  “They thought they were going to molest a 13-year-old child and instead came face to face with law enforcement.”

The sexual predators 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 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.

The perpetrators described in detail in online messages the sexual acts they planned to commit with the “child.” They arranged to meet the “child” at her home and when they arrived they were taken into custody by law enforcement.  They were booked at Louisville Metro Corrections. Each has been charged with use of an electronic device to entice a minor into a sexual act, a Class D felony, and all but one is charged with attempted unlawful transaction with a minor, a Class C felony.  These criminal defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Several of the predators also sent explicit photos and showed indecent video of themselves to the person they thought was an underage female.  An example of the undercover online chat includes the following where it took only 13 minutes for the online predator to solicit sex from someone he thinks is a 12-year-old girl:

12:08a.m. Predator: hi, asl plz (age, sex, location please)
12:08a.m. “Child”: 12 f ky u? (12-year-old female from Kentucky, you?)
12:09a.m. Predator: 27 m Louisville; pic or cam? (do you have a picture or a webcam?)
12:10a.m. “Child”: on my pro (on my online profile)
12:10a.m. Predator: Ur cute
12:10a.m. “Child”: lol tyvm (laugh out loud; thank you very much)
12:13a.m. Predator: What r u wearing?
12:14a.m. “Child”: lol t n jean (laugh out loud; t-shirt and jeans)
12:15a.m. Predator: have any naughty ones (pictures)?
12:15a.m. “Child”: lol no
12:20a.m. Predator: ever had sex?
12:20a.m. “Child”: no
12:20a.m. Predator: you want to?
12:20a.m. “Child”: lol i dunno prolly someday (probably someday)
12:21a.m. Predator: will u let me have sex with u?

Perverted Justice volunteers never initiated the online chats and never had any sexual conversation until initiated by the predator.  The men arrested in the sting clearly believed they were chatting with a 13-year-old girl.  The child’s age was always revealed in the first few lines of their chat and the girl’s online profiles included photos and their ages.

The Office of the Attorney General has been planning the 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 diverse backgrounds of the men arrested last weekend make plain that these dangers are widespread.  For example, a Louisville man drove his Mercedes sports car to pick up what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl whose mother was away; a 44-year-old Lexington man with children of his own went to Louisville seeking sex with a child; and a schoolteacher from Fleming County traveled for hours believing he had lured an innocent minor into a sexual relationship.

“We hope to make children aware that the ‘nice’ older stranger they chat with sees them only as prey,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “He is ready and willing to leave them with emotional and possibly physical scars for life…or worse, kidnap or kill them. Working together, we must increase public awareness of this very real 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, continue to investigate more than 50 other individuals who solicited sex online from our underage decoys.

In conjunction with Cyber Security Awareness Month and Kentucky Safe Schools Week, Attorney General Stumbo is hosting a conference in Lexington on October 16th called I-Jam.  Registration for the conference is now full with more than 400 students, parents, educators and law enforcement officials signed up to attend to learn about online safety.  Shelley Riling, the aunt of a 13-year-old Connecticut girl who was killed by a 25-year-old online predator and Miss Teen USA 2005 and Samantha Hahn, who is a victim of cyber-bullying will tell their stories. Del Harvey, Assistant Director and Sting Coordinator with Perverted Justice, will discuss the group’s work including their sting operations with Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator” show, on which several she has appeared.

Stumbo is also forming an i-Shield Task Force to get cyber-safety information out to the schools and communities.  The task force is composed of specially trained law enforcement officers from across the state.

There is also a new cybersafety section on the Attorney General’s website that contains tips and information for both children and parents regarding online dangers such as cyberstalking, cyberbullying, identity theft and Internet virus and worms.

Mug shots for the men arrested are also available. (Click here, 1.9MB PDF)