Seventeen child predators were arrested after a six-day undercover sting in Central Florida. The predators arrested face 49 felonies and two misdemeanors, reported WTVT. Detectives from the Auburndale Police Department, Orlando Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, and Orange County Sheriff’s Office, participated in “Operation Child Protector.”
Agencies conducted the undercover operation from July 27 through August 1st, 2021. Detectives posed as juveniles on social media platforms, mobile apps, and online dating sites to find those who searched for and preyed upon children in order to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
Nine of the offenders already had criminal records, three individuals were Walt Disney World employees and one was a registered nurse. 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence and Jonathan McGrew, 34, worked as custodians at Walt Disney’s Hollywood Studios, WFLA reported.
The couple were looking to engage in a threesome with who they thought was a 13-year-old girl and role play as step-parents and stepdaughter in a shoplifting scenario. The third Disney employee was Kenneth Javier Aquino, 26, who worked as a lifeguard at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference, “these are nasty, nasty people. We can’t even use the words that they used. We obviously can’t show the pictures and video clips that hey sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys.”
Judd said Aquino left his girlfriend, who is seven months pregnant with his child, to have sex with a child…He’s a Navy veteran…he was working toward a dive team or a SEAL team or some kind of special ops job.”
Judd mentioned Juan Guadalupe-Arroyo, 47, of Davenport, who listed his occupation as a registered nurse at AdventHealth Care Center in Celebration.
The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children between the ages of 13 and 14 for sex acts. The suspects showed up to an undercover location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, to sexually batter them. Some of them transmitted pornographic images while grooming and soliciting the children online, and they were appropriately charged for that as well.
In all, detectives arrested 17 suspects, who face a total of 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges which include: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and transmission of material harmful to a child; six suspects brought condoms, and nine suspects have criminal histories (with 27 total previous felonies, and 22 total previous misdemeanors). The youngest suspect arrested is 26 years old, and the two oldest suspects are 47 years old. They were all from the central Florida area, except one suspect who was here visiting from California.