17 people arrested during child pornography investigation

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sex offenders, polk county, ocala post, child porn case

On Monday, November 4, 2019, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office concluded a month-long special operation to identify members of the community who possessed and shared child pornography.

The operation, code name, “Guardians of Innocence IV: Fall Haul,” was carried out by undercover detectives from PCSO’s Computer Crimes Unit, and resulted in the arrests of 17 people (16 of whom live in Polk county).

During the operation, one man was caught as he was attempting to meet a Frostproof child for sexual favors, two men were pursuing nude pictures from two different 13-year-old girls using Snapchat and Facebook, and another who admitted that if he didn’t look at child pornography, he would sexually batter children.

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“The people arrested during this operation prey on the most innocent and vulnerable among us—our children. The undercover detectives who investigate these crimes have to see things that nobody should have to see, and no child should have to experience. Each one of these arrests has removed a predator from our streets and the internet,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

The youngest person arrested was 19-years-old, while the oldest was 77-years-old.

At the time of arrest, detectives seized all known electronic communications devices belonging to the suspects, with forensic searches of those devices to follow. Those searches could turn up additional images and/or videos depicting child pornography, and the suspects would be additionally charged as needed. Attempts are also made to identify the children in various images and videos.

The 17 men arrested face a total of 626 charges (624 felonies, 2 misdemeanors). The combined prior criminal histories of all of the men include 114 felonies and 71 misdemeanors. One of the men is receiving government assistance.

Those arrested are as follows:

Bryan Murray, 54, from Frostproof. Murray used Facebook Messenger to pursue a young teenaged girl for sexual favors. He told the victim that he wanted to be her “sugar daddy,” and sent a nude picture of himself to her. He was arrested when he traveled to meet her at a park. Murray was charged with Attempted Lewd Battery (F2), Transmission of Material Harmful to a Minor (F3), Travel to Meet a Minor after Solicitation (F2), and 3 counts of Use of Computer to Lure a Minor (F3). Murray is employed as a truck driver.

William Hage, 76, of Lakeland. Hage has been retired for the past 14 years. Before that, he was an Assistant Principal at Seth McKeel Middle School. He had hundreds of videos and images of child pornography, with girls of various ages, one as young as 8-12 months old. When detectives executed the search warrant, Hage was involved in an online chat, telling an unknown person about wanting to see a 15-year-old wearing something sexy. Hage was charged with Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) and 252 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2).

Dominic Bernardi, 19, from Orlando. Bernardi sent nude images of himself to a 13-year-old girl via Snapchat. He also requested and received nude images of the girl who said that she had felt pressured by Bernardi. He had made several statements that indicated that he knew the girl was a minor. Bernardi has been charged with Using a Computer to Solicit a Child (F3) and Transmitting Material Harmful to a Minor (F3). Bernardi told detectives that he is a student at the University of Central Florida.

Christopher Drennen, 20, from Bartow. Drennen had given his laptop to a friend and asked the friend to get rid of files on it, specifying the files on a note that said “naked pics of kids and other sh*t like that.”

The friend saw several images of nude children that she felt were inappropriate. A search of the laptop revealed three images of children exposed in a lewd manner and/or engaged in a sexual act. One image was a close-up of a nude 3-6-month-old girl. Drennen was interviewed in the Polk County Jail (on unrelated charges) when he stated that if he did view child pornography, he would never sexually batter a child in real life.

Drennen, who is unemployed, was charged with 3 counts of Possession of Child Pornography (F3).

Michael Arambulo, 34, of Haines City, told detectives that he was an ICU Registered Nurse at AdventHealth Heart of Florida Hospital for 5 years. Tips from NCMEC (National Center Missing and Exploited Children) led detectives to discover that Arambulo had been sending and receiving videos of pre-pubescent boys (some as young as 5 years old) in lewd poses and sexual situations with other children and adults. Arambulo was charged with Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) and 10 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2)

Camillo Demaria II, 33, from Lake Wales was also arrested. Detectives learned from an NCMEC tip that Demaria had uploaded several images and videos of child pornography. He also has a conviction from a Winter Haven PD case in 2012, in which he sent a nude photo of himself to a child. Demaria was charged with 26 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Demaria, who said he is unemployed, was in possession of methamphetamine at the time of his arrest and charged with that as well.

After following up on a tip, Felix Rocha, Jr. 27, of Haines City was arrested. Detectives searched Rocha’s cell phone and located a video Rocha had exchanged with another Facebook Messenger user which depicted two pre-pubescent boys involved in bestiality. Additional videos with child pornography were also found in his possession. Rocha was charged with 5 counts of Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Rocha works in construction.

An investigation into David Dailey, 42, of Auburndale, began following an NCMEC tip on his use of Facebook Messenger. During the investigation, detectives found 100 images of child pornography on a micro SD card and cell phone. Dailey was charged with Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) and 100 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Dailey said he works as a laborer at WellDyneRx.

Donald Durr, Jr., 52, of Davenport: During an interview with detectives, Durr described himself as “a pervert, but not a monster.” An electronic tablet contained three images of child pornography, one of which depicted a girl between 5-7 years of age in a sexual act with an adult male, and a DVD created by Durr nine years ago which contained images of a 10 to 11-year-old girl exposing herself. Durr is charged with 8 counts of Possession of Child Pornography (F2) and 1 count of Promote Sexual Performance by Child (F2). Durr told detectives that he was a custodial worker for Walt Disney World Resorts.

Brett Kinney, 40, of Lake Alfred: During a proactive P2P or peer-to-peer (computer to computer) investigation regarding child pornography is available for sharing, Kinney told detectives that he had an addiction to child pornography, and has been viewing it for 22 years. Online, he would search for images of boys from toddlers to 10 years old. He has been charged with 1 count of Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) and 24 counts of Possession of Child Pornography-Enhanced (F2). Kinney said he was a Guest Experience Manager at Disney World.

Charles Mabry, Jr., 37 from Mulberry: Detectives discovered that Mabry was offering child pornography for trade on a P2P program (peer-to-peer). Detectives discovered various images and videos on his electronic devices. Mabry is charged with 1 count of Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) and 53 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Mabry said he works in Quality Control for Florida Beef while finishing out a prison sentence under work release status.

Edgar Villegas, 28, of Davenport: An NCMEC tip reported two images depicting child pornography were uploaded at the same address. Villegas told detectives that he has an addiction to child pornography. He was on probation for Promote Sexual Performance by Child and Possession of Sexual Performance by Child since being released from prison in March of 2019. Villegas was charged with 2 counts of Possession of Child Pornography (F2) and Violation of Probation. Villegas said he works in lawn maintenance.

Mack Witherington, 77, of Auburndale. The investigation of Witherington began with an anonymous tip to CrimeStoppers. During the investigation, 15 images depicting child pornography were located on Witherington’s desktop computer, one of which was of a girl of about 2 years of age in a sexual act with an apparent adult male. Witherington has been charged with 15 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Witherington is retired.

James Richardson III, 38, from Lake Wales: An NCMEC tip was received about an image depicting child pornography that was sent via Facebook Messenger. The investigation led detectives to Richardson, who by this time, was in the Polk County Jail on Violation of Probation and Possession of Methamphetamine charges. A search of Richardson’s cell phone, which was among his property at the jail, yielded two images depicting a girl between 6-8 years old involved in a sexual act with an adult male. Richardson has been charged with Possessing Depiction of Child Sexual Conduct (F3) and Promote Sexual Performance by Child (F2). Richardson is unemployed.

Mark Ott, 49, of Winter Haven: Detectives learned of child pornography being advertised for download and actively being shared at Ott’s residence. 27 child pornography files were located, depicting prepubescent girls (some as young as 3 months) engaged in sexual conduct, along with 47 images from downloads. Ott was charged with Promotion of Child Pornography (F2) 74 counts of Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2). Ott said he worked as a mechanical engineer.

Rodney Montgomery, 51, from Polk City: NCMEC tips to detectives reported that more than 50 images of child pornography had been uploaded from a residence in Polk City. The investigation turned up multiple images of children between 5-10 years old in a lewd exhibition. Montgomery was arrested in a Pinellas County undercover operation in 2014 for traveling to meet two females (14 and 15 years old) and went to prison. He was released in January 2017. Montgomery is being charged now with 20 counts of Promote Sexual Performance by Child (F2) and 10 counts of Possession of Child Pornography w/ the Intent to Promote (F2). Montgomery was also charged with Sexual Offender Failure to Comply with Registration (F3). Montgomery said he worked in construction.

Jacob Jackson, 31, from Lakeland: Detectives followed up on an allegation that Jackson had made contact with a 13-year-old girl via Facebook Messenger, and asked her for nude photos after he had been notified of her age. He also attempted to video chat with the victim. When confronted by detectives, Jackson admitted that he tried to solicit pictures of the girl. Jackson was charged with Attempted Promotion of Child Pornography (F3) and Using Computer to Solicit a Child (F3). His brother, Jerrid Jackson who resides in the home, was also arrested for Failure to Register Residency as required as a registered sexual offender. Jackson is unemployed and was receiving SSI government assistance.

Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives charge 14 registered sexual offenders and predators during October initiative

During the month of October 2019, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives in the Special Victims Response Team (SVRT) conducted an operation aimed at ensuring compliance with Florida’s registration laws for convicted sex offenders and sex predators (FSS 775.21 & 943.0435) within Polk County*. Detectives charged 14 suspects with failure to comply with sex offender registrations laws and/or violation of probation.

“Our detectives work hard year-round to keep track of convicted sex offenders and predators who reside here. We also monitor whether or not they remain compliant with the law. We know our citizens are concerned about predators and offenders being around children during events such as Halloween, so every year we conduct initiatives like this one. These 18 suspects learned the hard way that we take every one of the requirements seriously, and failure to comply will result in an arrest,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

The 14 men arrested face a total of 49 charges (47 felonies, 2 misdemeanors). The combined prior criminal histories of all of the men include 219 felonies and 112 misdemeanors.

The following is a list of those arrested or charged and a summary of their offenses:

Titus Finley, 25, of 348 Honey Bee Lane, Polk City: Finley is a juvenile sexual offender based on a 2010 conviction for sexual Battery by a juvenile on a victim under 12 years of age. In May 2019, Finley was charged with one count of Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Laws (F3) for having an unregistered vehicle. He had a warrant issued for Failure to Appear in that case. He is required to register his address quarterly and failed to do so in August. Detectives obtained a second warrant for that. Finley was arrested on October 3, 2019, after crashing on a stolen motorcycle. He was in possession of Meth and a concealed firearm at the time. He is still in jail with 12 charges, including grand theft of a motor vehicle, carrying a concealed firearm, display of a firearm during a felony, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, DWLSR, and multiple failures to register charges.

James Earl Moorer, 52, of 515 Avenue J SE, Winter Haven: Moorer is a sex offender based on a 1994 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a child under 16 years of age. In January 2019 Moorer registered the above-listed address and was advised the location was not in compliance with statutes, as it is within 160 feet of Winter Haven High School. He changed the address to a motel. He also listed an employer, but while detectives conducted periodic checks, they learned he was no longer employed there and failed to register two other employers. He also had checked out of the motel and failed to list a registered vehicle. Moorer was arrested and charged with six additional counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Darrell Williams, 34, of Haines City: Williams is a sex offender based on a 2006 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a child between 12-15 years of age. In 2018, Williams listed a home on Edna Holliday Drive as his permanent address. In September 2019, he re-registered the address. On October 2, 2019, the homeowner contacted PCSO to notify us that he no longer lived at that address. Williams was incarcerated in the Polk County Jail from August 27 – September 12, 2019, for resisting arrest, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and five counts failure to comply with sex offender laws, and has been out on bond since that time. Detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest for two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

David Michael Bryan, 46, of 814 North Kentucky Avenue, Lakeland (the Talbott House): Bryan is a sexual offender out of Wisconsin based on a 1993 conviction for second-degree sexual assault of a child, and a 1998 conviction for third-degree sexual assault. Detectives determined that Bryan moved to Georgia from Wisconsin, and then to Florida, and failed to register his address. Detectives confirmed with Talbott House personnel that he’s been staying there. He was arrested and charged with two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Jerrid Michael Jackson, 30, of Lakeland: Jackson is a sex offender based on a 2012 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between 12-15 years of age. In 2017 Jackson registered an address on Spencer Lane and was advised the location was not in compliance with statutes, as it is too close to daycares and a park. He registered other addresses throughout the years, all of which were in compliance. During an unrelated investigation, detectives saw Jerrid at the Spencer Lane address, and he told them that he lives there. They began an investigation and also found an online account in his name. He was arrested and charged with eight counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Enrico Conde, 51, of Lakeland: Conde is a sex offender based on a 2013 conviction for lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim under 12 years of age. Conde registered the Talbott House as his permanent address. When detectives checked with Talbott House personnel, they confirmed Conde never spent one night there and in fact was barred from the location. He was arrested and charged with two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Francisco Laza, 56, of 131 Maple Drive, Kissimmee. Laza is a sex offender based on a 2004 conviction in Puerto Rico for lewd and indecent acts. Laza failed to register in July 2019 and had three vehicles that were not registered. He was arrested and charged with four counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws, and resisting arrest.

Everett Johnson, 46, a transient in Bartow: Johnson is a sex offender based on a 1999 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a child under 16 years of age. Transients are required to register every 30 days. Detectives determined Johnson was late registering on five different occasions between February and September 2019. He was arrested and charged with one count Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Kelvin Joyce, 55, a transient in Lake Alfred: Joyce is a sex offender based on a 1993 conviction for sexual battery by an adult on a victim under 12 years of age. Transients are required to register every 30 days. Detectives determined Joyce was late registering on two different occasions in 2019. He was arrested and charged with two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws.

Michael Mack, 35, of 2520 US Hwy 92 West #8, Winter Haven: Mack is a sex offender based on a 2009 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between 12-15 years of age. During an unrelated investigation, detectives learned Mack forced his way into a woman’s house and committed battery. The woman was his ex-girlfriend, who also told detectives that he was staying at the Lak Mar Motel. The address he registered is not the motel address. Detectives obtained a warrant for burglary with battery, and four counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws. He was arrested and remains in the Polk County Jail.

Guy Odell, 42, of 5630 Kemen Drive, Lakeland: Odell is a sex offender based on a 1998 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a child under 16 years of age. He has a prior arrest and conviction for failure to comply with sex offender laws. Odell was arrested in September 2019 for failing to register in July. He was arrested in October for failing to report a Facebook account, failure to update his FL identification card, and failure to report two registered vehicles (four counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws).

Russell Cowles, 41, of 534 Lazy Lake Drive East, Lakeland: Cowles is a sex offender based on a 2012 conviction for traveling to meet a minor to commit a sex act, and use of a computer to solicit a child. Cowles was arrested in August 2019 for failing to report a registered vehicle. He was arrested in October for failing to register two other vehicles that he has access to at his resident (two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws).

Shannon Holland, 40, of 4926 Tropical Moon Lane, Auburndale: Holland is a sex offender based on a 2001 conviction for lewd and lascivious battery on a minor between 12-15 years of age. He was recently released from prison and is on felony probation until 2027. Detectives found a Facebook page belonging to Holland and also failed to register a cell phone. He was arrested for two counts Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration laws and Violation of Probation.

Gary Shields, 43, of 526 Lazy Lake Drive East, Lakeland: Shields is a sex offender based on a 2006 conviction for providing obscene material to a minor and lewd and lascivious exhibition on a victim under 16 years of age. He is on probation until 2023. Detectives were contacted by Shields’ probation officer, who let them know that Shields was in violation of his probation for not participating in and completing a sex offender treatment program. He was arrested for six counts VOP, and transferred to Highlands County.

*Convicted sex offenders and sex predators are required by Florida law to register and maintain updated information regarding the following identifying information: name; social security number; age; race; sex; date of birth; height; weight; tattoos or other identifying marks; hair and eye color; photograph; address of legal residence (or temporary residence); electronic mail addresses; Internet identifiers and each Internet identifier’s corresponding website homepage or application software name; home telephone numbers and cellular telephone numbers; employment information; driver’s license or Florida ID information; the make, model, color, vehicle identification number (VIN), and license tag number of all vehicles owned.

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