A longtime Warren County resident has been charged with traveling to Clermont, Fla., to have sex with an underage girl.
Brian Jay Hawkins, 50, is one of 22 men charged in what was a two-county undercover sex sting. Hawkins was arrested by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and faces a number of charges including use of a computer to seduce/ solicit/ entice a child to commit a sex act, travel to solicit a child to commit a sex act, and 13 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor.
According to booking records, Hawkins now lives in Lakeland, Fla.
The 22 men arrested all traveled to a sparsely furnished home in Clermont, Fla., expecting to have sex with a 10-, 12-, or 14-year-old girl. Instead, sheriff’s deputies burst into the home and arrested the men in Operation L&P. The operation was timed to occur just as kids were going on summer vacation.
In setting up the meetings, detectives from both departments posed as underage girls or their parents in Internet chat rooms.
According to the Washington Post, some of the men once had jobs working at Orlando-area theme parks.
Jeff Conrad told deputies he had worked at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, half an hour away from the home in Clermont. Disney said Conrad left the theme park before his arrest.
“He traveled to have sex with a 14-year-old child,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “He had access to kids because, as he said, he was a Disney employee working at Magic Kingdom.”
Two more suspects worked at Orlando theme parks: Ryan Mayer at SeaWorld and Tomas Adames at Universal Studios. Both companies told local media after the arrests the men are no longer employed with them.
Some men allegedly brought sex toys. One allegedly brought a whip. Another allegedly arrived with an extra pair of underwear, intending to claim his child victim’s panties as a trophy, according to local newspaper the Daily Commercial.
One of the most disturbing cases was the arrest of Ahmad Saleem, a 22-year-old community activist and youth counselor. He is the founder of Saleem Academy, an organization dedicated to empowering young Muslims.
Saleem allegedly showed up to the sting thinking he was about to have sex with a 12-year-old. He also showed up in a vehicle with a specialty license plate reading: “Invest in Children.”