Polk Co. deputies arrest 42 in child porn, sex offender undercover investigation

Deputies have a warrant out for child porn suspect

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - The Polk County Sheriff's Office has announced that they have made 42 arrests in a two-month-long undercover investigation that focused on those who prey on children. 

On Wednesday, at 10:30 a.m., Sheriff Grady Judd will brief the media about the extensive investigation conducted by the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the Department of Corrections Office of Probation and Parole and the State Attorney Brian Haas. 

WATCH THE NEWS CONFERENCE LIVE

Detectives served several search warrants and arrested 18 suspects who engage in the promotion, possession, and distribution of child pornography. 

During the investigation, detectives conducted proactive compliance checks on sex offenders, predators, and probationers whose violations stemmed from sex offenses. They ended up arresting 21 suspects for failure to register as a sex offender. 

“Our children are this community’s most precious resource. We must do everything we can to protect them. During operations such as this one, we proactively look for suspects who prey upon children, either through the collection and distribution of child pornography, or through their non-compliance with sexual predator and offender registration rules, including their evasive efforts to gain access to children through the Internet and social media. Our detectives have done an outstanding job—they are guardians who protect the innocent.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

A total of 42 arrests were made and one warrant was issued. Of those 42 arrests, 18 suspects were arrested for possession of child porn, one additional possession of child porn suspect is wanted and is at large, he has a warrant for his arrest, 21 suspects were arrested for failure to comply with sex offender registration and or violating their probation, and 3 others were arrested during the operation on other charges. 

What is the difference between a sexual offender and a sexual predator? 

• A sexual offender is an individual who has been convicted of a qualifying sexual offense in Florida or another jurisdiction.

• A sexual predator is an individual who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense as defined in Florida Statute 775.21 (which may include offenses from another jurisdiction) AND has a written court order designating the individual a sexual predator; OR An individual who is civilly committed under the Florida Jimmy Ryce Sexually Violent Predator Act AND has a written court order designating the individual as a sexual predator. 

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