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Ocala
Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Seven jailed during undercover child predator sting in Marion County

Seven men have been arrested in the past two weeks during a multi-agency law enforcement sting designed to capture offenders seeking sex online with children.

Multiple law enforcement agencies – federal, state and local – assisted the Marion County Sheriff’s Office during the recent operation titled “Can’t Touch This.” Undercover officers spent more than 60 hours online and their efforts resulted in the arrests after the men made arrangements to have sex with a girl or boy between the ages of 13-15, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said.

Marion County Sheriff’s detectives and personnel from several other law enforcement agencies conducted a recent child predator sting. Those arrested included, top, from left: Anthony Michael Guiliani, Nicholas Samuel Rogers, Nathan Collins and Geoffrey Johnson. Bottom, from left: Donald Ambros Willingham, Christopher Molinaro and Charles A. Smith.

Those arrested include:

• Nathan Collins, 21, of Ocala, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked into the Marion County Jail on Aug. 2 at 1:23 a.m. and is being held on $9,000 bond.

• Anthony Michael Guiliani, 41, of Inverness, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked into the jail Aug. 3 at 5:47 p.m. and released the following day at 10:36 p.m. on $20,000 bond.

• Nicholas Samuel Rogers, 25, of Ocala, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked Aug. 3 at 8:37 p.m. and released Aug. 10 at 1:11 a.m. on $17,000 bond.

• Christopher Molinaro, 20 of Ocala, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked Aug. 5 at 4:11 a.m. and is being held on $20,000 bond.

• Geoffrey Johnson, 28, of Okahumpka, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices through a parent, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked Aug. 3 at 3:44 a.m. and is being held on $17,000 bond.

• Charles A. Smith, 34, of Gainesville, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and transmission of material harmful to a minor. He was booked Aug. 6 at 12:04 a.m. and released the following day at 9:42 p.m. on $20,000 bond.

• Donald Ambros Willingham, 71, of Williston, charged with soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using computer services or devices through a guardian, traveling to meet a minor to commit an unlawful sex act and unlawful use of a two-way communications device. He was booked Aug. 4 at 8:07 p.m. and released Aug. 6 at 8:30 a.m. on $20,000 bond.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, surrounded by officials from several other participating law enforcement agencies, speaks during a press conference Tuesday morning to announce the arrests of seven in a child predator sting.

Those arrested allegedly chatted online with undercover law enforcement officers before traveling to a location in Ocala, where they thought they would be meeting the children they had been messaging, a Marion County sheriff’s report states.

During the online interactions with the suspects, all of them engaged in lewd conversations with the “child” and described the sexual acts they wished to do with them, the report says, adding that some even sent inappropriate pictures to the undercover officers and Willingham brought suspicious items to the meeting location, such as rope and a sleeping bag.

“Luckily, instead of meeting a child, they got to meet my SWAT team and Ocala PD’s SWAT team,” Woods said. “And we put them in handcuffs.”

Woods, speaking during a Tuesday afternoon press conference, called all seven who were arrested “worthless human beings” and vowed to continue to do whatever it takes to put child predators behind bars.

“They like the allure of entrapment to take away their innocence,” he said.

Woods said he spent some time reading the conversations that went on between the seven men and the undercover officers before the press conference.

“It makes you want to vomit,” he said. “It makes the bad side of the human race come out in you because these individuals are evil doers.”

Woods also made a plea to parents to educate their children about the dangers of social media and being online. And he issued a direct warning to those who plan to prey on children in the future.

“I will use every means that I have and every resource that I have to hunt you down and bring you to justice,” he said.

The other law enforcement agencies involved in the sting included: Ocala Police Department, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Levy County Sheriff’s Office, Chiefland Police Department, the U.S. Marshals and the State’s Attorney’s Office.

Several local businesses also offered support. Those included: FiberVision, Aaron’s Rental, Mojo’s Grill, Marco’s Pizza, Zaxby’s, Latinos Y Mas, Wise Guys Pizza and DeLuca Toyota.