Police arrest 18 in undercover child sex sting, ‘Operation April’s Fools’

Operation April’s Fools (Photo Credit: Polks County Sheriff’s Office)

An undercover child sex sting operation by multiple law enforcement agencies in Florida has resulted in the arrest of 18 men. The sting was called Operation April’s Fools and it took place between March 29 and April 4 in Polks County, Florida. Among those arrested were a Walt Disney World security guard and a  janitor at SeaWorld’s Discovery Cove. All of the men that were arrested responded to online ads to entice girls they knew were minors.

One suspect, Arthur Joseph Nelson, 18, worked at Walt Disney World and sent pictures of his genitals to the undercover team. Nelson purchased condoms at Walmart and traveled to the expected rendezvous and was arrested by police. He told the detectives that he knew the girl was 14 years old and he had previously chatted with underaged girls but this was his first time trying to meet someone. He was charged with using a two-way communication device to commit a felony, using a computer to seduce a child, traveling to meet a minor, attempted lewd battery, transmitting harmful materials to a minor and possession of drug paraphernalia. Polks County Sheriff Grady Judd stated, “Child predators are dangerous and out of control. They prowl the internet for your children — children as young as 10 years old — to teach them how to have sex. They arrive with candy and condoms and they leave in handcuffs and a one-way ride to the Polk County Jail.”

Others arrested in the sting include a hospital technician, computer program director, car dealership manager, airline customer service manager and a former Polk County firefighter. Officials at both Walt Disney World and Sea World have the employees involved in the sting have been terminated. This is not the first time a theme park employees have been arrested in an undercover sex sting. Since 2006, 35 Disney employees as well as two SeaWorld and five Universal employees had been arrested for sex crimes involving children.

Mo Barnes
Mo Barnes

Maurice "Mo" Barnes is a graduate of Morehouse College and Political Scientist based in Atlanta. Mo is also a Blues musician. He has been writing for Rolling Out since 2014. Whether it means walking through a bloody police shooting to help a family find justice or showing the multifaceted talent of the Black Diaspora I write the news.

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