Five students arrested in sexual predator sting
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 01:10
Five FGCU students, including an Eagle News senior staff member, have been arrested as part of a child sexual predator sting, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.
Forty men, ranging in age from 18 to 50, were arrested as a result of the sting, which was named Operation Spiderweb and ran from Oct. 22-28.
The suspects made plans via social networking sites to meet and commit sex acts with whom they believed were boys and girls ranging in age from 11 to 15. Forty deputies, detectives and agents identified and arrested the accused adults at a home in Lee County where the men allegedly traveled to commit the sex acts.
The five FGCU students arrested included Jacob Duvall, 19, Johnny Yang, 22, Scott Owens, 19, Sean Strickler, 28 and Zachary Crane, 20.
At the time of his arrest, Yang was the assistant media editor at Eagle News.
According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Duvall’s last know address was in FGCU campus housing.
The sting, which took five months of preparation, was a collaborative effort involving the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Sex Crimes Unit, FBI Innocent Images Task Force, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney’s Office of 20th Judicial Circuit and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Those trying to prey on our children are served notice today that we will not tolerate this illegal activity,” said Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott in a press release. “We cannot be idle in this task. Parents, I urge you to recognize the threat exists and be sure you have lines of communication open with your children and monitor their social networking activity.”
According to NBC-2, FGCU said the University can’t comment on students’ discipline due to privacy laws, but in general terms, FGCU has the ability to suspend and remove students from the campus pending the outcome of what happens in court.
All of the men are facing obscene communication charges.