Parents warned of children's cell phone use as 19 would-be sex predators arrested in sting operation
Operation H.O.O.K. officers arrested Mark McGill Jr, a US Forest Service employee, who came with the intent to have sex with a minor girl
FRESNO, CALIFORNIA: A sting operation carried out by the authorities in Fresno has sent 19 suspects behind the bars in a major crackdown against would-be sexual predators. The officers held these men in custody after they attempted to meet with children for sex, claims authorities with Operation H.O.O.K., an acronym for Hands Off Our Kids. It is now revealed that some of the detectives had posed as minors for hours on a number of different online chat rooms and apps.
“All of the suspects were first to express their sexual desires, and they initiated a time to meet with a detective posing as a child,” said Fresno County Sheriff, Margaret Mims. Mims also claimed that the detectives had clearly mentioned their fake ages, and some even posed as 12 year olds, yet the suspects wished to meet them for sex. The entire operation was orchestrated with the help of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
Fresno County District Attorney, Lisa Smittcamp said in a statement, “The greatest evil and the greatest threat to children is the cell phone. This is how children are exploited, how they are violated, and how these predators get access to our children.”
The Operation H.O.O.K. officers have arrested Mark McGill Jr, 38, a US Forest Service employee, who had come up to the meeting spot in a department fire engine with the intent to have sex with a minor girl, as the authorities claim. However, he was able to bond out after posting $30,000 bail. Out of the 19, 12 other suspects have also bonded out, reported Fox 19.
“I want to remind parents that the suspects in these cases may not fit a certain stereotype or profile that you have in mind,” Mims stated. She also pointed out that they were able to grab 19 of them, but thousands of sexual perpetrators still walk among us preying on vulnerable children. “A potential danger of being online more often is having an encounter with a sexual predator who is seeking a relationship with a child,” she added, as per the report.
Being aware of what children are doing is crucial for parents, especially as more of them have access to technological devices and the internet.