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Underage Sex Sting Nets 43 Suspects in the Tampa Bay Area

Detectives posed online as children and as parents selling sexual encounters with their children.

A St. Petersburg firefighter is among 43 charged in a sting by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office targeting adults trolling the Internet for sex with minors.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office identiified the 43 suspects arrested in the past week, and their addresses include Manatee, Pinellas, Sarasota, Lake, Hillsborough, Charlotte and Collier counties.

Jeremy Wert, a 35-year-old firefighter from St. Petersburg was also among those arrested. A total of six men from Pinellas County were arrested in the sting.

One has an Ohio address but is staying in Lakewood Ranch.

Authorities say the men were going on line to solicit sex with children.

Detectives posing as parents and as children went online to several computer chat rooms that are set up for people to anonymously talk about sex and to set up meetings, investigators said.

The forum in one of the chat rooms centered on incest. On that site detectives posed as parents offering their children up for sexual encounters.

Detectives in various undercover capacities subsequently set up meetings with the defendants at an undercover residence in Manatee County. The men went to the residence believing they were meeting up with a juvenile for a sexual encounter, authorities said. 

The defendants were arrested on charges including Travel to Seduce, Solicit or Entice a Child to Commit Sexual Act and Use of a Computer to Seduce, Solicit or Entice a Child to Commit Sexual Act.

Some of the defendants were also charged with Transmission of Materials harmful to Minors by Electronic Device or Equipment, Lewd and Lascivious Molestation, Attempted Capital Sexual Battery and Possession of Drugs. 

Among those arrested was Eugene Marshal, 43, a registered sexual predator who lives in Manatee County. For the complete list of the 43 suspects arrested, see Underage Sex Sting Arrest List.

The investigation is ongoing with additional arrests and charges forthcoming.  FDLE, ICE, the Bradenton Police Department, and the Sarasota, Polk, Lee and Lake County Sheriff’s Offices are assisting in the investigation. 

Jeremy Wert
9/20/76 2012 - 28051 Pinellas Roberto Delerme
4/2/83 2012 - 28111 Pinellas Joseph Albanese 4/8/76 2012 - 28334 Pinellas James Durkee 3/7/51 2012 - 28340 Pinellas Alen Markley 4/8/56 2012 - 28247 Pinellas Jonathan Schafer
5/6/90 2012 - 28355 Pinellas
Catherine September 17, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Just horrid ... gives me the 'bad' shivers that there are so many local men participating in this lewd behavior. Too many predators ... too many.
Danie Huizenga September 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM
l resent having to pay what? $ 150 or more a day to support pedofiles?? and l have to live on SS of $21 a DAY,,,,,,,,,esp. when they ADMIT openly that they WILL do it again when they get out. Where is Capital Punishment when you need it.. Wipe them all out - the four people l love the most in the world were raped. Two have died, one was my beautiful 28 yr old Girl died of cirhossis and my son age 49 died from alcoholism also......and my X husband, also an alcoholic now clean is alive but never addressed the issue about his rape at age 12 by the band director in his junior high school. It pathetic that we we let them get back on the streets.............
Dharma September 18, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Disgusting idiots and horrific people....... what is wrong with people now? Your children were gifts give to u to protect not use, sell and hurt... they are just off the scales on all sides, it seems as though it’s so big I can’t speak to it and that is big. Destroying a childs life for the rest of their lifes is unforgetable.
Gwen Thomas September 18, 2012 at 05:46 PM
These crimes are incredibly selfish. These men (and occasional women) take a normal life away from each of their victims. Once proven guilty and with certain guidelines, I wish these criminals would be forced to get neutered. These men are sick beyond repair and we should make it impossible for them to act out ever again against any child.
Joshua Streeter September 19, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Let the non violent drug offenders out, and put these guys in, forever.

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