A Montgomery County police officer and six other people were arrested as a part of a sting operation aimed at finding men seeking sexual contact with minors. The week-long operation was carried out in Northern Virginia starting on June 6. The operation was conducted by the Special Victim’s Bureau and the Intel Unit of the Prince William County Police Department.
Sgt. Jonathan Perok revealed in the press release on Monday that the operation was carried out as a proactive effort and not as a response to any particular case. During the operation, the police used social media and other sites to present themselves as juvenile girls to lure pedophiles.
“Male suspects contacted the undercover detectives and, during the course of communications, solicited sexual or indecent acts. These conversations involving the accused parties took place through electronic means. In each of the incidents, the suspect made arrangements to meet the undercover detective at a public location in Prince William County. Once there, detectives arrested the individual without incident.”
Police have filed charges against all men caught as part of the operation following a consultation with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. One of the suspects that was apprehended is 27-years-old Christopher Dunkes of Raven Avenue, Gaithersburg. Dunkes is a policeman by profession, and according to the criminal complaint filed in the Prince William court, the patrolman answered an advertisement published on Craigslist by an undercover officer who was posing as a 15-year-old girl from Prince William County.
The complaint file shows that Dunkes emailed and texted the undercover officer about sex acts. Dunkes twice proposed a specific sex act and asked to meet the decoy in his car, according to the court document. He agreed to meet the undercover officer at a Target store, where he was arrested without incident, police said.
Captain Paul Starks, the spokesman for the Montgomery Police Department, confirmed that Dunkes has been suspended from his duty without pay following the arrest.
“We are cooperating with the investigation. Our internal affairs division is communicating with Prince William County police.”
Dunkes had joined the police force back in 2014 and, according to Montgomery PD, had recently been assigned to the Bethesda bureau. Six other men were arrested along with Dunkes, including Steven Castillo, 20, of Colchester Road in Woodbridge; Jeffrey Harrison Dimond, 35, of N. McClellan Drive in Fredericksburg; Curtis Michael Jenkins, 54, of Monument Drive, in Fairfax; Jordan Kolbinskie, 23, of Landgreen Street in Manassas; David Lee Mathes Sr., 58, of Alexandria Pike in Warrenton; and Chad Michael Warner, 24, of Butternut Way in Sterling.
The Prince William County Police Department mentioned that no actual children were involved in the operation. In order to prevent crimes that involve the sexual exploitation of minors, they have conducted similar operations in the past. Last year, a total of 22 men seeking to engage in sexual activities with minors were arrested in Florida as part of a sex sting. Some of the perpetrators there were workers from reputed companies like Disney, Seaworld, and Universal Studios.
This sting operation further sheds light on how vulnerable children can be in the internet age. Predators are using the internet not just to find their next victims but, in some cases, also to share their horrific acts on the dark web. This does not take into account all the harassment and abuse that children may be exposed to online. While the cops are trying their best to fight against abuse of children, it is absolutely impertinent for parents to keep a vigil on what their children do online.
[Image via Prince William County Police Department]