A security guard at Walt Disney World and a janitor at SeaWorld were among 18 men arrested in a child molestation sex sting called ‘Operation April’s Fools,’ according to the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office.
The men who were arrested responded to online advertisements from undercover police officers posing as children or the parents of children.
The sheriff’s office noted that child sex trafficking and molestation are out of control as predators look online for children as young as 10 to teach them to engage in sexual activity.
The sex sting involved Florida law enforcement from several parts of the state from March 29 to April 4. The sting is one of several that have been done in the area in the last seven years.
Dozens of Disney Workers Arrested For Sex Crimes Since 2006
This isn’t the first time Disney and SeaWorld workers, who often work with children, have been arrested for sex crimes.
A 2014 CNN investigation determined that 35 Disney workers, two SeaWorld, and five Universal workers have been arrested since 2006 for child sex crimes, attempting to meet a child for sex, or possessing child pornography.
Each of the parks said at the time that they have no tolerance for illegal sex crimes and require every employee to undergo rigorous background checks.
All of the alleged sex crimes happened outside the amusement parks, except for two cases involving possessing child pornography on Disney World property. None of the suspected sex crime cases involved children visiting the amusement parks.
The sheriff’s office noted the recent arrests that two theme park workers, including a security guard and a football coach at a Christian elementary school, were among the 18 suspects.
The arrested announced this week included a 26-year-old security guard named Jeffrey Binder, who works at Walt Disney World. The sheriff’s office said he arrived at the arrest location to have sex with a female he thought was 14-years-old.
Binder chatted online and texted with the undercover police officer that he wanted to do sexual things to her. He also bought condoms and brought them to the sting location. His Disney security guard uniform was in his vehicle when he was placed under arrest.
Binder has been charged with attempted lewd battery, trying to have sex with a minor, and using a computer to seduce a minor. In addition, he has a criminal history that includes one arrest for battery/domestic violence.
A spokesperson for Disney World said the man has been placed on unpaid leave as the case is handled by the justice system.
SeaWorld Custodian Also Arrested For Attempted Seduction Of A Minor
Another amusement park worker arrested was Arthur Nelson, 19, who is a janitor at Discovery Cove theme park in Orlando.
Nelson arrived at the sting location to have intercourse with who he believed was a 14-year-old girl. The man sent her photos of his genitals, and he purchased condoms on the way to the sting location.
After he was arrested, he told the police that he knew the person was 14-years-old, and that he has talked to underage girls before but he had never tried to meet one. Nelson also said he was high at the time, and he ‘thought it was a good idea.’
The man was charged with using a two-way electronic communication device to commit a felony; use of a computer to seduce a minor; attempted lewd battery, and traveling to meet a minor.
A SeaWorld spokesperson said that the company uses extensive criminal background checks to screen its employees. However, the company also noted that it has no tolerance for these situations and will take appropriate action when warranted.
Others arrested during the sex sting operation included a hospital technician, computer program manager, auto dealership manager, former firefighter, and an airline customer service manager.
Another DisneyWorld Employee Arrested Said He Was Trying To Protect The Child
A 49-year-old former DisneyWorld worker named Robert Kingslover was arrested during the previous sting operation in 2014. He was charged with soliciting a child for sexual acts and traveling to meet a child for illegal sexual activity.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges because he claimed he was attempting to protect the girl and would call the police when he appeared at the house. He noted that his family has supported him after the arrest.
Kingslover told the media that he loves his children, and they know he would not try to hurt a child.
Other Disney workers caught in the earlier sting were costumers, security guards, a tour guide in training, a gift shop worker, and several maintenance workers.
It appears that child sex predators often are employed at theme parks that cater to children, and it’s probably only a matter of time before more of them are caught by the police.