Disney employee among 13 offenders accused of wanting to ‘sexually abuse’ children

A longtime Disney World employee and a Publix backhoe were among 13 sex offenders caught in an undercover sting operation in Florida, police said.

Working with “To Catch a Predator’s” Chris Hansen, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office targeted suspects accused of attempting to “sexually abuse, groom and corrupt” children, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a press conference on Thursday.

During the week-long operation, dubbed “Operation Cyber ​​Guardian II,” officers posed as teenage boys and girls – some as young as 13, Fox 13 reported.

Eight suspects showed up at an undercover location in Polk County, believing they had met for sex with a minor, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. Police obtained warrants for the arrest of five other people in different countries.

Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World
Two of the men arrested in an undercover operation worked at Disney parks.
AP

Three of the suspects believed they were speaking to a parent or guardian of a child who wanted to teach their child to have sex or incited the minor to have sex with the suspect.

The 13 men are charged with a total of 41 felonies and three misdemeanors, including: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, using a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device and transmitting harmful material to a child.

According to the sheriff’s office, two of the suspects told detectives they were married, two brought condoms for undercover location, and two brought illegal drugs.

Among those arrested was Kevin Sanders, 42, from Winter Garden, who was taken into custody at Disney World, where he has worked for 16 years, Sheriff Judd said.

Sanders worked at the park as an itinerant IT support specialist but had previously worked as a member of Disney’s Youth Education Series Program, which offers accredited educational programs for students ages 5 to 18, officials said.

Sanders, a married father of two young children, reportedly began exchanging messages on Aug. 29 with an undercover cop who he believed was a 13-year-old girl telling her that her age “to be careful.” ‘ the sheriff’s department said.

Kevin Sanders mug shot
Sanders worked at Disney World for 16 years.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office

Police allege Sanders had previously dealt with undercover officers who he believed were young girls, but always cut off communications before actually traveling to meet with the minor.

He was sent to the Orange County Jail and charged with providing harmful material to a minor and using a computer to solicit a child for sex.

Joshua Cummins, 28, was also arrested at the operation after allegedly traveling to the undercover location because he thought he was meeting a 14-year-old girl for sex, officials said. He told police he was employed as a construction subcontractor and was currently building a new roller coaster at Disney.

Mug shot of Joshua Cummins
Joshua Cummins worked for a contractor building a new roller coaster at Disney World.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office

He was accused of traveling to an underage sex meeting, using a two-way communication device to commit a crime and attempting to do lewd things. He was released on $18,000 bail.

Matthew Silva, 33, a Publix grocery store bagger, was arrested after allegedly sending sexually explicit messages and nude photos of himself to an undercover officer he believed to be a 14-year-old girl .

Mug shot of Matthew Silva.
Publix excavator Matthew Silva was also arrested in “Operation Cyber ​​​​Guardian II”.

Silva was accused of passing harmful material to a minor and using a computer to solicit a child for sex.

“Parents are please to be concerned about their child’s use of electronic devices that give them access to online games, mobile applications, texting or the internet,” said Sheriff Judd. “Check their devices regularly and make sure parental controls are on to keep such men away from your children.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/16/disney-employee-among-13-predators-accused-of-wanting-to-sexually-abuse-kids/ Disney employee among 13 offenders accused of wanting to ‘sexually abuse’ children

JACLYN DIAZ

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