Crime / law enforcement stock image

Last week, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd announced the results of “Operation Guardians of Innocence V” — including 16 arrests involving those in the possession, promotion and distribution of child pornography.

A total of 1,409 felonies were filed against the suspects, Polk County Sheriff’s Office staff explained in a press release, with more charges pending.

“These images are not just pictures of children without clothes. These videos and photographs are horrific images of children being forced to expose their genitalia and forced to perform sex acts – images of children being raped,” Judd said in a release. “Those who upload and share child pornography are victimizing children over and over again. Those arrested in this operation create the demand that sustains a child pornographic exploitation distribution pipeline that traumatizes children across the world. Their behavior is disgusting.”

The arrests, which were all of adult males, included residents of Lakeland, Davenport, Auburndale, Haines City, Winter Haven and Bartow. Those arrested ranged from age 18 to age 64, with several of those arrested in their 20s. Among the arrested were a pair of employees at Walt Disney World.

For the full list of those arrested, visit PolkSheriff.org.

Lake Wales man arrested for child pornography, aggressive pursuit of young girl

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Lake Wales man on June 16 after an investigation showed that he manipulated, threatened and extorted a 10-year-old girl into sending him nude images of herself.

19-year-old Simon “Pete” Anderson used the social-media platform Facebook to communicate with the victim and PCSO staff say he admitted to knowing that the girl was only 10-years-old.

The investigation began on April 30, when a parent of another child was told that Anderson was sending the girl photos of his penis.

During a forensic interview with the victim, she revealed that Anderson (whose Facebook account used the name Pete Anderson), had sent her inappropriate messages and pictures of his penis. The PCSO Computer Crimes Unit searched the victim’s cell phone and discovered multiple messages and images that had been sent from Anderson’s Facebook account.

The messages on the phone revealed Anderson’s aggressive efforts with the victim. He tried coercing her into sending him nude pictures of herself by threatening to report her to law enforcement, as well as threatening to kill her and himself if she didn’t comply. The girl admitted to sending Anderson photos because she was in fear of his threats.

When a PCSO detective from the Special Victims Unit interviewed Anderson, he admitted that he sent her images of his penis.

Simon Anderson was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail. He was charged with Extortion (F2), Possession of Child Pornography (F3), three counts of Transmitting Material Harmful to a Child (F3), and Aggravated Cyberstalking (F3).

The investigation is ongoing.