CLEARWATER — The message on Craigslist sought a particular kind of rendezvous: “Are there any women out there into family love?”
The sender was James King, 28, of Tampa, and by family love, he meant sexual relations among members of two families, regardless of their age, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
King was among 35 men arrested during a four-day, multi-agency online sting dubbed “Operation Home Alone” that operated from the Clearwater Police Department.
“We're not gonna stop until we purge Pinellas County of these predators,” Gualtieri said at a news conference Monday. “They really need to be eradicated from our county.”
The sting, which targeted adults trying to have sex with children, started Thursday and ended Monday morning.
Twelve investigators went under cover into websites such as Facebook, teenchat.com, boyahoy.com, and motherless.com. They pretended to be children or adults — a mother willing to let others have sex with her daughter, or an uncle with access to a nephew. If they needed to follow-up their online conversations with a telephone call, they disguised their voices.
The response was overwhelming, said Anthony Holloway, chief of the Clearwater Police Department, which was involved in the operation. One detective had 40 people make overtures toward her within five minutes of getting online.
“It was like shooting fish in a barrel,” Holloway said. “We didn't expect that many people to hit on us that quickly.”
In King's case, a detective pretending to be the mother of 11- and 14-year-old daughters conversed with him, and he told her he had had sex with his 4-year-old daughter, Gualtieri said. He took a cab to Pinellas, where he thought he would have sex with the woman's daughters, but he was arrested instead.
Sitting on the ground after he was taken into custody Sunday night, King blurted out, “I really didn't have sex with my daughter,” Gualtieri said.
Another man arrested, Michael R. Dempsey, 43, of Bradenton, was home as his daughters, 10 and 12, slept, and his wife was at work, Gualtieri said. He left his daughters and traveled to Pinellas, where he thought he was going to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The suspects ranged in age from 19 to 65, authorities said. One was a mall maintenance worker, another a fry cook, another a massage therapist. One was homeless, another an aspiring teacher.
They were arrested on a variety of charges, the most typical being traveling to meet a minor and the seduction of a child using the Internet or an electronic device.
Of the 35 arrested, 23 were from Pinellas County, seven from Hillsborough, and two each from Pasco and Manatee counties. One man came from Miami.
The complete list:
Eden Imran Emanuel Popo II 4/16/1987, Oldsmar, 26
Mark Edward Holzworth 5/24/1987, Clearwater, 26
Dean Laurence Ingram 4/15/1966, New Port Richey, 47
Roger Morgan Palmer 12/29/1950, Tarpon Springs, 63
Marcus Allen Coffey 3/10/1994, Tampa, 19
Stanley Bruce Sandrowitz, 5/7/1948, Clearwater, 65
Shane Lee Power 6/12/1984, Largo, 26
Demetrius Stephaun Cardwell 1/9/1994, Clearwater, 20
Kevin Matthew Zalich 4/5/1974, Lutz, 39
Minh Phuoc Nguyen 2/4/1989, Dunedin, 24
Stephen Eric Virgil 6/24/1967, Tampa, 46
David Brian Hubbard 3/24/1960, Seminole, 53
John Jackson Finch 10/18/1988, Dunedin, 25
Jeance Asdrub Colina-Enriquez, Tampa, 6/29/1993 20
Luis R. Malave 1/30/1975, Clearwater, 38
Yaser Abdelrahman Manm Alsalameh, 11/23/1986, Tampa, 27
Travis Labron Freeman 5/20/1988, Kenneth City, 25
Nicholas Demasky 8/25/1985, Hudson, 29
Russell Allen Edwards 12/19/1974, St. Petersburg, 39
Eric A Mendez 8/4/1984, St. Petersburg, 30
Steven James Bandura 6/4/1991, Largo, 22
David Alan Degener 1/27/1984, Tampa, 29
Kevin Miller 10/22/1980, Clearwater, 33
Michael H Powers 7/24/1959, St. Petersburg, 54
Clinton Bradley Sizemore 9/12/1975, Clearwater, 38
Alexander Levi Blackwell 9/29/1978, Miami, 35
Elliot Sheffield 1/2/1988, Clearwater, 26
Robert Luis Scherriff 2/19/1953, Oldsmar, 60
James Ronald King 2/18/1985, Tampa, 28
Alberto Aguilar Jimenez 2/5/1985, Pinellas Park, 28
George Francis Dadswell Jr. 6/16/1956, St. Petersburg, 57
Steven Knapp 10/5/1988, Dunedin 25
Jose Armando Guandique 1/15/1971, Clearwater 42
Rodney Glen Montgomery 2/3/1968, Bradenton, 45
Michael R Dempsey 11/23/1970, Bradenton, 43
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