Internet Predator Sting Arrests 11Contact: Rusty Hills, Media Contact 517-373-8060 Agency: Attorney General
May 22, 2008
DETROIT − Attorney General Mike Cox announced today the arrest of 11 Internet predators from across the state in Phase II of a joint Internet Child Predator sting conducted by the Wayne County Sheriff's Office, the Van Buren Township Department of Public Safety and the Attorney General's Office, bringing the total number of arrests from both phases of the sting to more than three dozen.
"This Internet Predator sting was unique. Most focus only on those predators that travel. Not so with this project. If you solicit a child for sex, or send sexually graphic material to a youngster, you do not escape prosecution just because you never got off your couch," Cox said. "Identifying this type of Internet predator can be difficult, but the extra effort is worth it to protect children from those who seek to harm them by using the Internet."
Phase I of the sting resulted in the arrests of 27 men in a 3-day predator sting operation in early March. The 27 individuals traveled to a decoy location in Wayne County and were arrested upon arrival.
Phase II of the Joint Internet Predator sting targeted individuals who chatted online with volunteers posing as minor children, but did not travel to the decoy location. The 11 individuals arrested have been charged with using the Internet to solicit sex from a minor, as well as disseminating sexually explicit material to a minor.
More than nine Special Agents from the Attorney General's Office and four Assistant Attorneys General worked to identify and arrest the 11 men charged in Phase II of the sting. The Phase II arrests are unique to Internet predator stings. Generally, law enforcement only arrests those individuals that actually travel to a meeting place. Cox's office is the first to identify, arrest, and charge individuals who used the Internet to arrange sex with a minor, but did not arrive for the meeting with the child.
"This two-phase operation developed by Attorney General Cox has been an unqualified success and taken countless children out of harm's way," said Sheriff Evans. "The arrests made during Phase II are equally as important as those made at the sting house because each suspect's ultimate goal has been the same: sexual gratification through the exploitation of children."
A criminal charge is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
Since its restructuring, Cox's Child and Public Protection Unit has arrested 195 Internet sexual predators. Attorney General Cox encourages parents to visit www.michigan.gov/ag for tips on safe Internet usage for children. Citizens can also report suspected Internet child predators via the Report Internet Abuses Against Children link, or by calling the Child and Public Protection Unit at (313) 456-0180.
The Attorney General's Office also created the Michigan Cyber Safety Initiative (Michigan CSI), an Internet safety education program with customized presentations for kindergarten through eighth-grade students and a community seminar. Presentations have been given to more than 200,000 students in more than 165 school districts in 63 of Michigan's 83 counties to date. For more information or to request a presentation, call 877-765-8388 or go to www.michigan.gov/csi.
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Phase II Defendants & Charges