An internet child sex sting operation just concluded with the arrest of 17 men. Dubbed Operation DUVAL (Disrupting Underage Virtual Abuse Locally), the undercover operation was initiated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of several Northeast Florida law enforcement agencies.
During the operation, law enforcement officers posed online as young male and female teens looking to have sex with older adult males. Sometimes the officers posed as the parent of a child looking for sex. Other times, the undercover decoys pretended to be the child themselves.
Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams was quoted in an article in the Florida Times-Union as saying the suspects traveled from as far north as North Carolina and as far south as Orlando to have sex with someone they believed to be a 13 or 14 year old boy or girl. The suspects range in age from 19 to 67. The 17 suspects’ charges range from traveling to meet after using a computer to seduce a child to solicitation of a child via computer to engage in sexual activity and unlawful use of a two-way device. At least one of the suspects’ cases is in federal, versus state court where the overwhelming majority of these types of cases are filed. Continue reading