Florida authorities Wednesday announced the arrests of 22 people, including three who listed Walt Disney World as their employer, in a sting of people allegedly targeting children for sexual activity.
The arrests came after a weeklong investigation involving the Lake County sheriff's cybercrimes unit in central Florida and other agencies.
In the sting, which was called "Be Mine," detectives posed as children, or parents of children, in various online chat forums to connect with suspects seeking children for sex, authorities said.
A vacant home was set up as a meeting place for the encounters, authorities said. As the detectives were solicited for sex, arrangements were made for the suspects to travel to the home for what they believed would be sex with a child. Upon arrival, the suspects were arrested.
One suspect, identified as David Griffith, 47, allegedly told detectives that he had recently made arrangements to meet a 7-year-old child in another county for sex. After reviewing his e-mails, detectives found conversations between Griffith and the 7-year-old's mother.
When the child was interviewed, she told investigators that her mother had sexually abused her, police said.
The other suspects were identified as Marcos Soto-Rossi, 30; Joey Hughes, 31; Brian Baker, 25; Tyler Edge, 23; Ryan Roach, 25; Alexander Vorobets, 27; Paul Samaroo, 31; Robert Kingsolver, 49; Troy Allen Dupler, 43; David Penny, 32, who police said is a registered sex offender; Patrick Holgerson, 32; Joel Torres, 32; Aaron Will, 23; Nasib Jobe, 39; Angel Eduardo Alvarez, 29; Ariel Ovanounou, 20; Belal Shofique, 33; Mathew Dove, 20; David Earl Parker, 43; Adam Michael Jimenez, 25; Nathan Taylor Sullivan, 22.
Kingsolver, Holgerson and Torres listed their employers as Walt Disney World, authorities said. The nature of their jobs was not known.
Marilyn Waters, a Disney spokeswoman, said the three have been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the cases.
The charges against the suspects included soliciting a child for sexual acts, traveling to meet a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution and failing to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner.