July 29, 2014

Internet child sex sting gets 17 arrests

An Internet child sex sting leads to the arrests of 17 men.

The State Justice Department announced the arrests Monday morning, after conducting a three-day sting last week involving several law enforcement agencies throughout Wisconsin. Attorney General JB Van Hollen touts the success of “Operation Black Veil,” but says there are many more predators preying on kids.

“Oh, I don’t think this is it by any stretch of the imagination. Unfortunately it’s the tip of the iceberg. I think we have way too many children who are being sexually trafficked.”

That’s why he proposed in his budget funding for a specific child sex trafficking unit. Van Hollen says his agency already has more than enough work to keep the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) unit busy. In this large-scale operation, Van Hollen explains the Justice Department took out some personal ads on Craiglist.

“We had over 500 responses to those few ads … so you can see how high the demand is.”

Van Hollen says predators have a sense of security when they solicit kids behind the veil of the Internet from their home computer, but this announcement should put would-be criminals on alert and act as a deterrent.

“I think it will and I certainly hope it will. A huge part of what we’re doing is trying to create a deterrent.”

The suspects were all men ranging in age from 18 to 54. They were booked on several possible charges including child enticement, child trafficking, and using computers to facilitate sex crimes.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:46