I-TEAM: Local sex sting highlights dangers kids face as they spend more time online during pandemic

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CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) — A sex sting this week busted dozens of adults investigators say were looking to meet kids online for sex. And the I-TEAM has found this puts a spotlight on added danger for children spending more time at home on their computers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

This week’s sting led to 27 arrests as part of Operation Moving Target. Cuyahoga County prosecutors and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force led the operation.

This marks the third year in a row they’ve carried out a sting and hauled in dozens of suspected predators. However, this year, investigators say is different.

“Kids are at home. Predators are at home,” said Assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Carl Sullivan.

He added, “Our cyber tips have gone up 60-80% every month since March, so these individuals are looking for meetings online, but they’re also willing to travel.”

Among those caught in the latest sting, a convicted sex offender from Pennsylvania and a former youth minister

“As we have seen the number of Cybertips dramatically increase this year, it is clear that online predators remain a serious threat to our children,” said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley.

“Hopefully the success of yet another operation serves as a stern warning to offenders that you will be found, you will be arrested, and you will be prosecuted.”

As these stings have been carried out, the I-TEAM has tracked down some of the suspects, and we’ve revealed what they’ve said to investigators. Some have claimed confusion over the age of the person they were meeting, and others have admitted why they were there. As one man put it, he was “desperate”.

If convicted, the people caught in these stings generally only face a few months in prison up to a few years. But, they also face having register as a sex offender for 25 years.

Courtesy: Office of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor

The arrested individuals include: 

  • Adam Davis, 41, Painesville, OH
  • Rajwant Singh, 44, Mayfield Heights, OH
  • Germaine Truett, 38, Cleveland, OH
  • Jason Johnson, 37, Cleveland, OH
  • Ronel Washington, 24, Garfield Heights, OH
  • Hector Pietri, 29, Cleveland, OH
  • Kyle Vansteenburg, 28, Cleveland, OH
  • Raphael Robinson, 26, Cleveland, OH
  • Corey Huber, 32, Elyria, OH
  • Michael Labondano, 30, Lyndhurst, OH
  • Nicholas Cook, 38, Bedford Heights, OH
  • Chazz Johnson-Hawks, 22, Solon, OH
  • Ian Rensel, 43, Bedford, OH
  • Jerry Harris, 35, Westlake, OH
  • Carson Strnisa, 21, Seven Hills, OH
  • Justin Cowger, 22, Cleveland, OH
  • Kim Koran, 61, Cleveland, OH
  • Nathan Troup, 39, New Castle, PA (Registered Sex Offender in the State of Pennsylvania)
  • Abed Aldur, 45, Parma, OH
  • Arturo Martinez, 47, University Heights, OH
  • Phillip Jones, 30, Streetsboro, OH
  • Keith Kozak, 41, Brooklyn, OH
  • Pedro Correa Jr., 42, Cleveland, OH
  • Ryan Dempsey, 37, Ashtabula, OH
  • Johnathan Smith, 34, Cleveland, OH
  • Robert Spisak, 45, Broadview Heights, OH
  • Jason Schmucker, 37, Canton, OH

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