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UPDATE: 19 arrested in "Operation Vanguard" sting to catch child predators

A large-scale task force to catch child predators online lead to more than a dozen arrests in our area.
BROWN COUNTY. Wis. (WFRV) - A large-scale task force to catch child predators online led to more than a dozen arrests in our area.

Between last Thursday and Saturday, 19 people were arrested.

They are facing a wide range of charges , all related to using the internet to prey on local kids.

"I was very surprised we got the numbers we did" says Lt. Jim Valley with the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

"Operation Vanguard" marks the 4th large scale sting of its kind, lead by Brown and Door counties.

10 departments participated,  with a team of roughly 75.

"Without them, this on such a large scale would not have happened" Lt. Valley says.

Undercover officers posed as minors on popular internet sites.

They responded to ads and set up face to face meetings.

Take down teams were in place to make the arrest.

"I think any time you are talking to a minor and talking about sexual activity, that crosses a line" he says.

One of the men arrested was training to be a bus driver in the Shawano school district, but had not yet driven a route with students.

"I do not want to paint with a broad brush, but sometimes people put themselves in jobs where they are closer to children. Thank goodness we were able to react when we did, so that nothing did happen with any children" says Brown County Sheriff John Gossage.

This sting lead to the most arrests of any operation by the task force.

"The fact that they were increased numbers, maybe we are not doing enough to curb this" says Lt. Valley.

Investigators say they cannot patrol the internet 24/7 so they are counting on parents to monitor their kids online activity.

"It is very important because you never know who is going to be online" says Officer Joe Nichols with the Oshkosh Police Department.

According to Lt. Valley "Parents need to know that we are out there willing to help but they need to do their part also educate and help their child out also".

The Shawano Superintendent Gary Cumberland released a statement to Local 5 regarding the bus driver in training who was arrested:

"I was contacted this morning by the Brown County Sheriff’s Department of an investigation that resulted in arrests of a number of individuals. I was made aware that one of the individuals arrested was a School Bus Driver for Johnson Bus Company, who is the bus contractor for the School District. I then contacted Johnson Bus to discuss this incident. Johnson Bus Company notified me that this individual was in the initial process of seeking employment with Johnson Bus and has never driven a bus route at this time. In working with Johnson Bus Company, the District is certain they will do what is appropriate in this matter to keep all our students safe".

Not all communities are making the names public yet, of the men arrested in this sting.

Here is what we know so far:

Brown County Arrests:



             ·        Robert J. Portman - Charged with child enticement (two counts). 

·        Carl H. Posvic - Charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement and trafficking of a child.

·        Michael J. Cross - Charged with child enticement and use of the computer to facilitate child sex crimes.

·        Duane B. Peterson - Charged with exposing a child to harmful material or harmful descriptions or narrations.

·        Shawn M. Raasch - Charged with child enticement and use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

·        Aaron M. Pakalske - Charged with child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Outagamie County Arrest:

          ·        Michael Northway - charges pending

 Shawano County Arrests:

·        James Ritchie - Charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, Possession of THC and Cocaine

·        Michael Stalvey - Charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime

·        James Kettleson - Charged with use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime

 

Oshkosh Arrests:

·        A 30 year old male from Fond du Lac, WI was arrested on Friday, March 28, 2014 at about 9:30 pm in the area of S. Washburn St and W. 9th Ave. for Child Enticement.  He was taken to the Winnebago County Jail.  

·        A 17 year-old male was also arrested on Friday, March 28, 2014 at about 12:30 pm in the area of Southland Ave and N. Westfield St.  He is being referred to the Winnebago County District Attorney’s Office for Child Enticement. 

·        A 60 year-old Oshkosh man was arrested on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 6:10 pm in the 1300 block of Otter Ave. in Oshkosh.  The male was arrested for Child Enticement and transported to the Winnebago County Jail.    

·        A 32 year-old male from Oshkosh was also arrested on Saturday, March 29, 2014 at about 7:10 pm in the 3800 block of Jackson St. in Oshkosh.  The male was arrested for Child Enticement and transported to the Winnebago County Jail. 

Wausau Police Department and Marathon County Sheriff’s Department:

·        5  arrests

 

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