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Undercover sting targets sexual predators meeting children, Volusia sheriff says

Sheriff Mike Chitwood calls suspects 'sick, twisted individuals'

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A five-day undercover sex sting operation in Volusia County netted 14 arrests, including one convicted sexual predator, after a joint effort between 16 Florida law enforcement agencies, according to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

Officials detailed the outcome of operation "Indecent Proposal" at a news conference Monday afternoon, during which they played a video showing the takedowns and excerpts of messages exchanged between the suspects and the undercover detectives who were posing as boys and girls between the ages 13 and 15. 

"We can undress and get naked and I can show you what you been missing," a message from 22-year-old Jimmy Struck read, according to deputies.

Officials said they chose to release only messages that were not too obscene or vulgar, but said some of the suspects did exchange photos and sexually explicit content.

"I'm the one who would be having sex with a minor but you know what? I really want to see you so I'll take my chances," a message that deputies said was from Ryan Joseph Rahme, 36, read.

Chitwood said messages like that one prove that the 14 men arrested knew what they were doing was wrong and now they will have to face the consequences.

"They know what they're doing is illegal, but they do it anyway," Chitwood said.

Chitwood said no matter how many sex stings or undercover operations they conduct, "scumbags" will continue to abuse and exploit children. Christopher Chierchio, 36, is a sex offender from New York who was on vacation with his family when he was arrested, Chitwood said.

Deputies said William Parshall, 58, is a retired U.S. Navy civilian logistics employee who admitted to being in possession of child pornography and chatting with minors online for the past three years. Chitwood said Parshall brought vibrating underwear with him when he was arrested.

"You're not going to stop it. You're not going to stop it because these folks that we're dealing with are sick, twisted individuals who are wired differently than we are," Chitwood said.

He said the best chance authorities have is to conduct stings that target individuals before they hurt a child and push for maximum sentencing.

"When you look at these guys, they're going to offend. Whether they're 8 or 80, if given the opportunity to commit a sex crime, they're going to commit it. And the only way to put them away is to lock them behind bars, and then they can't offend anymore," Chitwood said.

Officials said the best advice they have is for parents to monitor what their children do online because new apps and websites pop up every day. 

"This is what is out there. The internet is a dangerous place. Parents don't seem to get it, kids don't seem to get it that this is what's out there lurking on the internet, waiting for an opportunity," Chitwood said.

The sheriff applauded the work of crimes against children detectives and the 16 agencies across the state that worked together to conduct the undercover operation. He said he accompanied the detectives on Saturday for some of the arrests, calling it "scumbag central" and saying that he felt as if he needed to take a shower afterward.

"To see and read this stuff and talk to these guys, something I never did in my career, I'd rather handle 100 homicides than handle a dozen of these sex offenders that these investigators have to deal with. They have my utmost admiration for what they do," Chitwood said.

Below is a list of the men arrested and the charges they face: 

Victor E. Williams, 40, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Christopher S. Chierchio, 36, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery

William Keith Parshall, 58, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, attempted sexual battery

Daniel Scott Quilter, 36, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Ryan Joseph Rahme, 36, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, possession of heroin

Gregory Hall Jr., 20, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Jeremy Daniel Burge, 35, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Mario Ayala III, 29, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery

Kyle J. Galloway, 21, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery

Joseph McClellan, 24, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery

Robert A. Knuckles, 59, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery

William Riffe, 25, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Jamahl Barnabas-Heath, 22, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony

Jimmy D. Struck, 25, use of a computer to seduce/solicit/lure a child, travel to seduce/solicit/lure a child, use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony, sending harmful image to a minor, attempted lewd or lascivious battery


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