Four Disney employees and a former judge were among over 100 arrested in a Polk County, Florida sex trafficking sting that concluded last week.
The cheekily named “Operation March Sadness 2” targeted child sex predators and individuals seeking to solicit prostitutes.
“The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Wednesday, as CBS News reported. “Where there is prostitution, there is exploitation, disease, dysfunction and broken families.”
Detectives communicated with individuals they believed were offering prostitution services or seeking to communicate with minors online.
Xavier Jackson, 27, a lifeguard at Disney’s Polynesian Resort was arrested for allegedly sending illicit photos of himself to a person he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
Wilkason Fidele, 24, worked at Cosmic Restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland, Indian national Shubham Malave, 27 worked as a software developer for Disney, and Ralph Leese, 45 who did IT for Disney.
“We protected some little girl someplace that was groomed or potentially groomed by these evil, deviant criminals, thugs, that’s all they are,” Judd said. “They’re dangerous people.”
Disney confirmed that Leese, Fidele, and Jackson have all been placed on unpaid leave, while Malave is not an employee.
Among the others arrested was a man who worked at the Orlando amusement park The Fun Spot and 66-year-old Daniel Peters, a former judge in Cook County, Illinois.
“He requested an attorney,” Judd said. “Well judge, you need an attorney. You got problems.”
This is far from the first time that Polk County’s internet-famous sex trafficking stings have raked in Disney employees and, standing in front of a board depicting all 108 of the defendants, Judd said they’re likely to come across just as many offenders in the future.
“What amazes me is we could do another operation starting next week and fill this board up again,” he said. “And be sure of one thing: These chiefs and I will do just that. We’ll be back and if you violate the law, we’re going to take you to jail. That’s a guarantee.”
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