Seven Apprehended in Local Online Sting Operation

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Studies show one in five American children is sexually solicited online. It's a startling statistic and one that local and state law enforcement is hoping to change.

From Oct. 18 to Oct 21 of the past week, a police sting was held in Warren County, apprehending suspected online predators in Kentucky and neighboring states.

It was an operation that involved a member of the organization, "Perverted Justice" going online, and posing as a 13-year-old girl or boy. The suspected predators were then lured to a home in Warren County.

Five of the men drove in from Tennessee, another from Indiana and the last commuted from Marshall County, Kentucky.

"Once they're arrested at the sting house, they're transported here to the police department. They're taken upstairs and they're interviewed, fingerprinted and processed and then they're taken to the Warren County Jail," KBI Commissioner David James explained.

It was a five-day sting operation, all monitored from inside the Bowling Green Police Department.

"This particular room is what we call the command post for the operation. It's where the coordination for the operation takes place," assured Major Chief Deputy Randy Hargis, of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

And, in a single room, roughly 70 workers including law enforcement officers, case detectives and legal review teams handled the sting operation.

"The staff of the attorney general's office is here, on site, to maintain the highest integrity of prosecuting these individuals when they show up," Hargis said.

And while each department specializes in a different area, their intentions are the same to stop online predators and alert parents of their threat.

"Theoretically, we saved seven kids. Hypothetically, we saved 100," added Del Harvey, of Perverted Justice.

Five of the men were arraigned early Oct. 22 and are now being held on $50,000 bond.

A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 26 in front of Judge John Brown.

To see photos of the seven arrested in the sting, click here.

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