Cop posing as 14-year-old girl online leads to conviction of attempted molester

A Florida man who attempted to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex at a park in Woodstock crashed his car after fleeing when police arrived. The online persona of the girl was created by an undercover police officer.
Caption
A Florida man who attempted to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex at a park in Woodstock crashed his car after fleeing when police arrived. The online persona of the girl was created by an undercover police officer.

Credit: Cherokee County District Attorney's Office

A man has been convicted on multiple charges in Cherokee County after he traveled to Georgia in the hopes of meeting a 14-year-old girl named Stacey who he met online and enticed to have sex with him.

Luckily, the girl was a fictitious persona created by an undercover Woodstock police officer and no harm came to any children during the investigation.

Jesus Franco Arroyo, 24, of Lakeland, Florida, was found guilty Aug. 17 of charges related to his attempted meeting with Stacey, according to Cyndi Crossland, a spokeswoman for the Cherokee District Attorney’s Office. Arroyo was convicted of computer pornography, criminal attempt to commit a felony (child molestation) and fleeing or attempting to elude police officers.

Arroyo received a 15-year sentence, including five years in prison and 10 years on probation, Crossland said.

The investigation into Arroyo took place in late October 2020 when he used a messaging app called MeetMe to seduce the fictitious 14-year-old girl. The persona of Stacey was created by a specially trained undercover officer from the Internet Crimes Against Children task force, a multi-agency group that works to stop child sexual exploitation.

“This strategy enables officers to detect individuals seeking to exploit children before they are able to harm a real child,” Crossland said in a news release.

Arroyo arranged for Stacey to meet him at Dupree Park on Neese Road in Woodstock at 2 a.m. on Oct. 31, Crossland said. Arroyo arrived at the park and continued to text Stacey while he waited for her to walk through the woods from her parents’ house.

When Woodstock police showed up instead, Arroyo fled and ultimately wrecked his car into the carport of a home in the neighborhood, Crossland said. He was arrested at the scene of the crash.

“Arroyo’s actions demonstrate the dangers that children face online every day. We are fortunate that Stacey was a fictional child, rather than a real 14-year-old,” Deputy Chief District Attorney Katie Gropper said in a statement.

In addition to his 15-year sentence, Arroyo will be required to register as a sex offender and will not be allowed to have contact with minors under the age of 18.

“Many children are safer tonight, thanks to the excellent work of an undercover Woodstock police officer, who identified this sick individual before he was able to hurt an innocent child, and to the Cherokee County jurors, who found this defendant guilty,” District Attorney Shannon Wallace said. “This sentence ensures that this defendant will be confined, monitored and unable to hurt a real child.”

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