We live in dangerous and uncertain times as far as our children are concerned. It seems that no matter where they are, whether in our homes, on vacation, or even logged onto the internet, there is no place that is perfectly safe for our kids.
Not long ago, two Florida county cops decided that they wanted to make the world a little bit safer by tracking down a veritable parade of pedophiles. Yet even though the sting was a success, it revealed some troubling information…
Police officers from Lake County and Polk County, Florida were determined to catch what they believed to be an enormous “nest”, for lack of a better term, of pedophiles in their respective areas. In a sting worthy of Chris Hansen, both precincts began the arduous task of luring the pack of pedophiles to a vacant home they would use as their base of operations in the Claremont Area.
In order to facilitate this, deputies from both precincts used apps like Grindr to pose as one of two things: either the parents of children between the ages of 10 and 14 or the children themselves. This was the type of thing they had done several times before to great effect, but they had no idea that this particular sting would uncover something much more disconcerting…
As they anticipated, a good many of the suspected pedofiles took the bait and arrived to follow through with whatever tawdry plans they had made with the “kids”. Instead of meeting their naive intended targets, they were met by police. Some of the men had even brought whips, sex toys, lubricants, and even alcohol with them to the house.
Detectives arrested 22 people in the initial sting, two of whom were already registered sex offenders. One of the men had come all the way from Texas and had traveled to the Florida house to have sex with a 14-year-old boy. He even told cops he planned to keep the lad’s underwear as a trophy. And that worst of the bunch were yet to come…
The deputies also conducted a second phase of stings from the Claremont home in order to weed out prostitution in the area as well. All told 79 people were arrested in that sting. Multiple women were arrested for prostitution, including two high school students and a pregnant woman.
Over the course of several weeks, the Lake and Polk County deputies arrested a whopping 101 suspects. It was similar to a sting they conducted last year and the year before that. Each time, the detectives brought in an average of at least 20 individuals. The 2017 sting, however, that one took the cake…
Of the 22 alleged child sex predators arrested in Claremont this year, three of them had careers that would make any of the parents reading cringe with fear. These three men were theme park employees at one point, and as if that weren’t enough, one of them was actually still working for the Most Magical Place on Earth.
24-year-old Ryan Mayer had, not two weeks before his arrest, worked in America’s premier aquatic theme park, SeaWorld. His position there was in guest arrivals, which meant he could easily have contact with every single child that entered the park. And he wasn’t the only one…
The second suspected pedophile, 29-year-old Tomas Adames, also worked at one or Florida’s popular family destinations. Tomas had worked at Universal Studios but had since left that position prior to his arrest. Whether either man left voluntarily or was let go, the police have yet to disclose.
The last of the three, 22-year-old Jeff Conrad III, was still working at Disney World when he was arrested earlier in 2017. Yet, the question on many parents minds is one that seems fairly elementary, but is one that most don’t really want to know the answer to: namely, why do these people work at theme parks?
Where the Children Are
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd answered that question with a very matter-of-fact answer. “Because that’s where the children are..” he explained. He went on to say that the men explained that there was nothing to the accusations or in any connections to their jobs at the theme parks, but the sheriff and his team obviously knew better.
After news of the pedophiles’ previous careers went public, SeaWorld released as statement in order to get ahead of the wave of accusations that were sure to come. “We were recently informed that an employee who had worked for us for less than two weeks is included among those listed by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office but do not release personal information about our employees…” They had more to say as well…
SeaWorld finished their statement by reassuring guests. “The safety of our guests and team members and the wellbeing of our animals are our highest priority. We have numerous measures in place to create a safe environment in our parks.” As for Disney and Universal, they have yet to weigh in publicly on the news of the arrests.
The Mighty Mouse
In general, Disney World rarely comments on such cases pending the outcome of the investigations, and for good reason. The Mouse’s mighty empire employs more than 62,000 people in a 40-square-mile area and is the largest single-site employer in the country. It also isn’t just park employees who’ve been caught doing such things…
Taken out of context, these arrests are obviously unsettling. However, for Disney World, they are apparently just one in a swiftly appearing line of pedophiles to pass under the gates to Cinderella’s Castle. 58-year-old executive, Jon Heely is Disney’s director of music publishing and has recently been charged with three felony counts of child sexual abuse.
Mr. Heely has been accused of sexually abusing two underage girls. The first child was fifteen and was presumably a one-time thing: as if that makes it better. The second was also fifteen, but told police that she had been abused regularly since she was eleven years old. It was yet another shocking revelation for the company…
Heely’s alleged ten year relationship with pedophilia is eclipsed only by his long-term relationship with the Disney company. He has overseen licensing for Disney’s massive music catalog since around 1981. That relationship ended upon his arrest when the company suspended him without pay after learning of the allegations.
For his part, Heely has not publicly responded to the allegations nor to his suspension, though his attorney, Robert Helfend claims that Heely “vehemently denies these allegations.” Meanwhile, we know that Heely considers himself a Godly man by his Twitter bio which says he loves “Disney concerts and living to glorify God in all things….”
All of these arrests came with a distinct message for not only the pedofiles and sexual deviants brought in, but to those with similar dark designs. “This was a warning and a message that we are after these types of people with a vengeance,” states Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
A Dangerous Age
Sheriff Judd continued by saying, “If we didn’t get you in this operation, you better be sure we will in the next one. We are after you. Leave our children alone.” It was a stern statement but one that needs to be said, especially in this dangerous age of information where our children are beset on all sides by people looking to mistreat them.