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41 arrested in online, underage sex sting in Polk County

5:59 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Video: Online, underage sex sting nets 41 in Polk County

Video: 41 arrested in Polk underage sex sting

 

Winter Haven, FL -- Forty men and one woman are under arrest in Polk County for allegedly trying to have sex with a minor.

It's all part of the latest undercover Internet sting where Polk deputies pose as teenagers, and this one had some disturbing results. It's not just the people who were busted, but what some had brought with them at the time of their arrests.

PHOTOS: 41 arrested in Polk underage sex sting

Sheriff Grady Judd called the arrests a Father's Day present to the community. The one-week operation involved several agencies.

Sheriff Judd called it one of the most disturbing online sex stings they've ever conducted.

"We had those that brought condoms. Those that brought handcuffs. Those that brought padded handcuffs. Those that brought a bottle of urine. And one even arrived with chicken nuggets," he said.

The 41 suspects have all been charged with soliciting sex online from who they thought was teenager, but turned out to be undercover deputies.

"I meant no harm, I really didn't,"  said 54-year-old David Ullman, as he was taken to the ground by deputies during the sting.

Ullman, or "Mr. Lake Wales", as described by Sheriff Judd, is a family man, an elder in his church and a senior partner at his accounting firm. No one answered the door at Ullman's lakefront house Monday, but neighbors were absolutely floored.

Buck Vogel called Ullman a pillar of the community.

"Big in the church, big in the charter school system. He's done a lot of good things for a lot of people," said Vogel.

"What does he have to live for after that? It was just a foolish thing," added neighbor Jean Taylor.

  • The arrest list also includes 36-year-old James Walker III, a Disney World costume designer. 
  • There was an electrician, Ignacio Alvarado, who had full clearance at Orlando International. 
  • There's a youth football coach Warrington Cox, Jr. 26, from Bartow.

Others arrested include a recent police academy graduate, and the sting operation's first female arrest: Erin Vickers, 18, and her boyfriend Tommy Helms, 35. Investigators say the two were carrying pornography, handcuffs and a dog collar.

"We saw the most deviant people this last week. But most important is that we kept those deviant people away from your children," said Sheriff Judd.

One of the suspects arrested had a gun. Another had a switch-blade.

Despite the threat of arrest, disgrace and ruin, their sense of right and wrong is clouded, says Judd, by a sexual fantasy.

"It's not that they're risk takers, it's that they will give up everything at the chance of having sex with your children," said Sheriff Judd.

Which is why, the sheriff vows,  they will continue to have these sorts of sting operations.

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