Polk County Sheriff’s Office undercover detectives and partnering agencies conducted an undercover operation from July 27th through August 1st, 2021, during which detectives posed as juveniles on social media platforms, mobile apps, and online dating sites to investigate those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity. Detectives from the Auburndale Police Department, Orlando Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, and Orange County Sheriff’s Office, participated in “Operation Child Protector.”
“These are nasty, nasty, nasty people and when we go through this, understand that obviously, we can’t even use the words they use,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We obviously can’t show you the pictures and the video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys.”
Among the 17 suspects, several of them reportedly work at Disney World. Authorities stated that one couple, Savannah Lawrence and Jonathan McGrew, wanted to engage in a threesome with a 13-year-old girl and role-play as stepparents and stepdaughter or in a shoplifting situation. Both worked at at Walt Disney Hollywood Studios. Another one of the suspects, Kenneth Javior Aquino, was a lifeguard at Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge. Authorities said he left his pregnant girlfriend to have sex with someone he thought was a child. Another was a registered nurse at AdventHealth Care Center in Celebration, Sheriff Judd said.
The suspects communicated with and solicited who they thought were children between the ages of 13 and 14 for sex acts. The suspects showed up to an undercover location in Polk County at separate times to meet who they thought were children, to sexually batter them. Some of them transmitted pornographic images while grooming and soliciting the children online, and they were appropriately charged for that as well.
In all, detectives arrested 17 suspects, who face a total of 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges which include: traveling to meet a minor for sex, attempted lewd battery, use of a computer to seduce a child, unlawful use of a two-way communication device, and transmission of material harmful to a child; six suspects brought condoms, and nine suspects have criminal histories (with 27 total previous felonies, and 22 total previous misdemeanors). The youngest suspect arrested is 26 years old, and the two oldest suspects are 47 years old. They were all from the central Florida area, except one suspect who was here visiting from California.