Two Disney workers and one HIV positive man were among 13 arrested for in an online child predator sex ring in Florida, authorities announced Tuesday.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office made the arrests after conducting a six-day investigation between October 2 and October 7 called “Operation Cyber Guardian Fall Haul,” where detectives posed as children on social networking sites to investigate child predators, WFLA reported.
Of the 13 arrested, two of the workers worked on Disney property—one as a cook at the Grand Floridian resort and the other worked as a food runner at Disney Springs. A spokesperson for Disney said neither of the two Disney workers were Disney employees. Another one of those arrested allegedly solicited a 14-year-old boy for sex knowing he was HIV-positive.
Detectives say the suspects tried to solicit 13 and 14-year-old children for sex acts, bringing gifts and sex toys to lure their victims.
“These predators are out there, trying to sexually seduce and violate children. They lurk in chat rooms and online, ready to groom children for sex. Fortunately, because of the great work of our detectives, at least 13 of them won’t be doing that any time soon,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
“The bottom line is that these predators need to be locked up and kept away from children,” Judd added.
The 13 arrested face up to 58 charges, including:
- Attempted lewd lascivious molestation
- Attempted uninformed HIV infected sexual intercourse
- Using a communication device to commit a felony
- Traveling to meet a minor for the purposes of sex
- Attempted lewd battery
- Transmitting material harmful to a minor