Three Disney workers were arrested in a recent child sex sting operation. Detectives with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in central Florida arranged the sting. The undercover operation targeted adults who were seeking sexual relations with children.
Authorities said the investigation, called “Be Mine,” lasted for one week. Posing as children and parents of children, the detectives used online chat rooms to identify suspects who were interested in meeting children for sex.
A vacant Lake County home was used as a proposed meeting site. Authorities said a total of 22 men responded to the location. All 22 suspects reportedly went to the home with the expectation of having sex with a child.
In addition to the three Disney workers, the suspects included an Orange County paramedic and the owner of Orlando’s Rachel Strip Club. Many of the suspects came to the home bearing gifts, including candy, marijuana, jewelry, food, and condoms.
As reported by Gawker, the three Disney World employees include performer and choreographer Patrick Holgerson, service manager Robert Kingsolver, and Joel Torres, whose specific title is unknown.
Disney spokeswoman Marilyn Waters said all three men were “placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the charges.”
Although a majority of the men either refused to speak or denied the charges, 47-year-old David Griffith admitted similar behavior in the past. Griffith said he made prior arrangements to have sex with a 7-year-old girl, who lived in a different county.
Authorities said the encounter was arranged by the child’s mother. When the child was eventually tracked down and located, it was determined that she had been sexually abused. According to police, her mother was identified as an initial suspect. However, Griffith’s involvement is currently under investigation.
NBC News reports that Lake County Sheriff Gary Borders considers the child sex sting a success. He said “as long as those bad guys are out there trying to target out children [they] will continue to do these operations.”
The 22 suspects, age 20 through 47, were arrested on numerous charges including traveling to meet a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, failing to disclose HIV status to a sexual partner, procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution, and soliciting a child for sexual acts.
All 22 suspects are assumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the sheriff’s department provided a video of the sting operation. The three Disney workers will remain suspended from their positions pending the outcome of their cases.