Fifteen men allegedly looking to have sex with underage girls were arrested last weekend in an undercover sting in Florida, law enforcement authorities said.
The suspects were arrested between Thursday and Sunday and charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex or related crimes, during an extensive undercover operation conducted by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, along with state and federal officials.
“These men expressed specific desires to prey upon who they believed were innocent children,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday at a news conference.
Police said 12 of the 15 suspects responded to ads posted on Craigslist by authorities that had a similar theme “mom or dad seeking guidance for my daughter” for girls between 10 and 14 years old. A chat room was used in the other three cases.
“Some of the men even sent pornographic images of themselves to the detectives and made very specific requests about what they wanted these children to do to them,” Judd said.
When the suspects arrived at the undercover location, they were met, not by the children wearing lingerie as they had hoped, but by undercover agents in vests who placed the men under arrest.
Judd said one of the agents was shocked to discover that a suspect, 33-year-old Tommy Dupre, had been his son’s former baseball coach. “This gentleman coached youth sports baseball in Lakeland. Our undercover sergeant recognized him because he coached his son 8-10 years of age,” Judd said.
The wife of Kevin Scott, 35, was shocked to hear the news of her husband’s arrest, telling police, “I never want to see him again, I don’t want my children see him again, I hope he rots in jail for life.”
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