Montgomery County online child sex sting leads to 36 arrests

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The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office has made a major bust in the fight against child sex predators. Today they announced the arrests of 36 men charged with using the internet to sexually exploit children.

Of the 36 men charged, several of them were found to be in possession of child pornography and one of the men told police he’s HIV positive.

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Tyler Dunman is charged with protecting everyone in his jurisdiction. And as a father of two girls, he takes that job very seriously when it comes to sexual predators attempting to lure young children over the internet.

 “Part of our effort is to attempt to catch as many of these types of perpetrators as we can," Dunman said.

And that's what his office has been doing for the past two months in conjunction with other members of the Internet Crimes Against Children task force. Their efforts have led to the arrests of 36 men. Some have been charged with online solicitation of a minor, while others have been charged with making arrangements to have sex with children— some as young as 14 years old.

Several of the men have prior convictions as child sex offenders and one man revealed to police that he is HIV positive.

Dunman says the men troll chat sites like Backpage.com looking to meet children. In the case of these men, they were actually chatting online with undercover agents posing as children.

“They engage in internet chatter and communications with these individuals,” Dunman said.

Dunman says the conversations get explicit and the predators progress to asking the children to meet up and have sex.

"Ultimately they engage in conversation over a period of time and will set up a meeting for them where the perpetrator thinks they're coming to have sex with an underage child," Dunman said.

Eloisa Lora, a mother of tells me it worries her that so many were arrested in the sweep.  She plans on paying closer attention to what her children are doing online.

Dunman agrees with that approach. He also has a serious message for child predators.

"We're going to catch them, we're going to catch them and if we catch them in Montgomery County we are going to put them in prison," Dunman said.

According to the National Center for Exploited and Missing Children, 1 in 7 children have received unwanted sexual solicitations through the internet.

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