Prosecutor: Theme Park Pedophile Stings a Nightmare For Disney

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 11:03 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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It's no surprise that a pedophile sex-sting operation in Florida this month netted a handful of employees of kid-friendly theme parks including Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, a California-based sex crimes prosecutor told Newsmax TV on Thursday.

Businesses where children are in close quarters with adults have to be extra vigilant for pedophiles in their midst, Wendy Patrick of the San Diego District Attorney's Office told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.

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"Not only are they very smart, but they're very strategic, they're manipulative," Patrick said of pedophiles. "They really think things through in order to make sure they can maximize the time they spend with kids."

The sting conducted by the Polk County, Fla., Sheriff's Department, led to 16 arrests of men who were charged with seeking to have sex with a minor or with possessing child pornography, according to local news reports.

CNN reported this week that at least 35 Disney employees — include a character actor and a ride operator — have been arrested since 2006 for child-sex and child-pornography offenses in Florida.

None of the cases involved children or teenagers visiting the parks, CNN reported.

But Patrick said it's still a big problem even if only a handful of workers in an operation that employs thousands escape scrutiny.

"So what can theme parks do? Obviously this is a big wakeup call – and I know sadly we have a wakeup call like this every so often – to look at who they're hiring," said Patrick. "It's probably not enough to just look at resumes; it's probably worth actually following up on some of the listed reference.

"But it's also a matter of supervising the people that already work there," she said. "So you can bet that supervisors are going to really be taking steps to make sure employers monitor their employees on a regular basis.

"While this sting operation really targeted what people were doing off their shifts, you've got to believe that somebody doesn't leave their desires at the door when they come to work, and that's why this is so scary."

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