arrested by the Forsyth County Sherriff’s office and other law enforcement
agencies during “Operation Just Cause,” an undercover Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
operation targeting suspected child predators that visit chat rooms and social
media platforms to seduce children.
Authorities say that between Thursday, Sept. 5 and Sunday,
Sept. 8, suspects ranging in age from 19 to 65, from Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas
and Wisconsin were taken into custody after having sexually explicit communications
with undercover investigators that they believed to be minors.
“The goal of ‘Operation Just Cause’ was to arrest persons
who communicate with children online and then travel to meet them for the
purpose of having sex,” a sheriff’s office press release stated on Thursday.
“Additionally, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit
children by purchasing sex with a minor.”
During the multi-day operation, investigators reportedly had
numerous exchanges with suspects on various internet platforms. In many cases,
suspects attempted to arrange a meeting with the “child” for sex, “often
exposing the minor to pornography or requesting the child take nude or
pornographic images for them.”
“Although some websites promote themselves as being for
“adults-only” it is not uncommon for law enforcement to work cases in which
children access these sites, establish profiles claiming to be older, and then
find themselves vulnerable to
victimization, harassment, blackmail or assault,” the release states.
In some cases, suspects in the operation were found
communicating simultaneously with multiple investigators posing as minors.
“Such activity confirms what investigators uncover
conducting these types of investigations: that many predators specifically seek
out minors on such websites to groom them as potential victims for sexual
contact,” the release states.
Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman addressed members of the
media at a press conference on Thursday, explaining how the operation played
out, showing drone camera videos of some arrests, and releasing details about
some of the suspects involved.
said that the arrests included two suspects that are registered sex offenders,
one suspect that had pled guilty to statutory rape a week prior, a registered sex
offender currently serving time in a Florida prison, and a man and woman that
came to the county from Tennessee to have sex with a minor, bringing along
their 2-year-old child.
“If you come to this county and think you are going to
prey on our children, you have indeed picked the wrong county,” Freeman
said. “You’ve picked the wrong state if Georgia is where you want to be a
child predator, because we will not stop coming after you until we have you
arrested in Operation Just Cause include:
John Andrew Odell, 40, Cumming, truck driver
Christopher Scott Taylor, 29, Cumming,
Steven Charles Vinnenberg, 65, Cumming
Erik Delgado, 26, Gainesville, sales associate
Roger Kyle Nicholson, 44, Gainesville, unemployed
Joseph Ryan Lisnock, 22, Gainesville, landscaper
Jason Lee McIntyre, 35, Gainesville, supervisor
Jimmy Webster Roy, 21, Gainesville, mover
Robert Harley Martin, 38, Dahlonega, truck
Austin Wayne Rhodes, 22, Alpharetta, mechanic
Mahesh Kumar Saroj, 35, Alpharetta, information technology
Dylan Blair Nessmith, 23, Johns Creek, mechanic
Richard Edward Hazelwood, 49, Roswell, drug
Rene Mauricio Posada; 29, Marietta, sales
Anthony Christian Ceja, 23, Lawrenceville, laborer
Kyle Alexander Williams, 32, Stone Mountain,
Alan Thomas Bryant, 40, of Murrayville, unemployed
Gavin Austen Peppers, 21, Bowman, hotel clerk
Jackson Cain Butler, 20, Calhoun, sales
Jacob Perry Yeamans, 61, Madison, Wisc.
Michael Keith Coker, 29, Augusta State Prison,
Johnathon Dale Butler, 25, Pall Mall, Tenn.,
Mackenzi Faye Stinson, 19, Pall Mall, Tenn., sales
Daniel Dennis Rogan, 47, Witchita, Ky., vehicle
Suspects arrested in Operation Just Cause have been charged
with a variety of different crimes including aggravated child molestation,
computer crime: illegal solicitation, trafficking of persons for labor or
sexual servitude, sexual exploitation of children and distribution of child
pornography. The release states that additional charges may be filed later.
In his message to the public, Freeman also gave a chilling warning
to parents that Operation Just Cause should be a wakeup call that there are
real dangers online and being vigilant is the only solution.
these investigations are continuing, we wanted to take this opportunity to let
this be a warning to parents,” he said. “We hope parents take this to
heed, you need to talk to your children about the dangers that are posed and
what’s lurking out there.”
Authorities say that Operation Just Cause took several
months of planning and involved the work of more than a dozen other law
enforcement agencies including the Johns Creek Alpharetta Forsyth County Drug
Task Force, Alpharetta Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office,
Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, Floyd County Police Department, Gwinnett County
Police Department, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Johns Creek Police Department,
Lilburn Police Department, Roswell
Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigations and the United States
Department of Homeland Security.