A pair of crackdowns on sex crimes in Central Florida has led to 30 arrests, including 12 accused of traveling to have sex with what they thought were children, 17 sex offenders charged with violating probation, and one man allegedly caught with child pornography.
The 12 suspects charged with traveling to meet a minor for sex were arrested as part of "Operation Cyber Summer" in Seminole County. Among the suspects is a 17-year-old, whom we are not identifying in accordance with our Crime Guidelines.
The other 18 were arrested in Orange and Lake counties as part of a separate sting codenamed "Operation Safe Summer."
A 19th man, Charles Johnson, was not yet arrested as of Thursday. He faces charges of violating curfew after failing to return to his Orlando residence when instructed.
Operation Cyber Summer involved undercover officers from eight Central Florida agencies who chatted online, emailed and spoke on the phone with people who believed they were talking with either an underage child or an adult who had a minor available for sexual activity.
Investigators said the suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 75, include Gabriel Martinez, a former contract worker for Walt Disney World; and Stephen Schlow, a film professor at the University of Central Florida since 2000. Schlow resigned Wednesday, a UCF spokesman said.
Most of the suspects were either living in Seminole County or traveled from nearby areas, including Orlando, Apopka, DeBary, and as far away as West Palm Beach.
The agencies involved include Lake Mary police, sheriff's investigators from Osceola, Polk, Volusia, Manatee and Highlands counties, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.
In Operation Safe Summer, investigators conducted compliance checks on registered sex offenders and predators on probation in Orange County. Deputies and FDLE agents examined the offenders' cellphones and tablets during regular monthly meetings, and then accompanied probation officers to unscheduled in-home visits.
As part of the operation, FDLE agents also held safety presentations for children attending the XL Soccer World summer camp in Orlando.
The 11 adult suspects, as identified by the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, are listed below:
Trevor Bagley, 29, of Altamonte Springs
Daniel Bercini, 25, of Winter Springs
John Brannon, 51, of DeBary
Michael Branum, 20, of Apopka
Edison Juarez, 26, of Apopka
Anthony Love, 28, of West Palm Beach
Tracey Marchunsky, 57, of Orlando
Gabriel Martinez, 23, of Orlando
Peter Rivera, 24, of Sanford
Stephen Schlow, 75, of Orlando
Jace Shea, 36, of Orlando
Of these 19 registered sex offenders and predators, 18 in Orange County face various violations of probation charges.
Ruben De La Torre, of Clermont, was charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography after authorities said they received a YouTube cypertip.
Jameel Abrams, 19, of Orlando
Michael Ackerson, 36, of Orlando
Stephen Ashworth, 56, of Orlando
Jason Bacchus, 28, of Winter Garden
Merrill Brick, 40, of Orlando
Michael Canter, 39, of Orlando
Sergio Corona, 49, of Apopka
Victor Gaines, 64 (residence not given)
James Jackson, 45, of Orlando *
Charles Johnson, 35, of Orlando **
Fred Lucius, 33, of Orlando
Michael Midgley, 27, of Orlando *
Earl Pass, 41, of Orlando
Michael Perkins, 69, of Orlando *
Rusty Sierra-Martinez, 41, of Orlando *
Manuel Soldevila-Cuesta, 44, of Orlando *
Benjamin Whigham, 43, of Orlando
Ule White, 49, of Orlando
Ruben De La Torre, 26, of Clermont
(charged with possession of child pornography)
* Suspects marked with an asterisk were released as of Thursday morning, July 2, 2015.
** Charles Johnson has not been arrested, faces charges of violating curfew.