Undercover Sex Sting Nabs Seven Men, as Police Blame Paper for Exposing Operation
Published July 2nd, 2013
GAINESVILLE - Seven men have been arrested in Gainesville after they allegedly tried to arrange sex with minors in online chat rooms.
The arrests were part of a law enforcement sting dubbed "Operation Pegasus," which took place over the weekend and consisted of undercover agents posing as underage children in online forums.
The Gainesville Police Department says when the men asked to meet the minor in person, they were given the address of a home in northwest Gainesville where the cops were waiting.
While the operation was able to nab the seven men, GPD officials say the total number of arrests was much lower than expected.
"Detectives tell me that a normal operation on a city of our size can expect to have 15 to 20 arrests over a weekend like this, and in this case we only had seven," said GPD Officer Ben Tobias.
Tobias blames an article posted to the Gainesville Sun website Saturday evening for exposing the undercover operation and violating a request GPD made to keep the information from going public until the sting was over.
Douglas Ray, the executive editor of the Sun, told TV20 on Monday that information about these arrests was available to the public through many different channels, and would have become public even if the Sun had not ran its story.
The seven men arrested as part of the sting will now face charges of traveling to meet with a minor for unlawful sexual contact, as well as soliciting a child for sex.
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