GAINESVILLE, Fla. – After the Gainesville Police Department held a press conference highlighting the 21 arrests they made in "Operation Panther," a sting set up to catch men attempting to meet underage girls for sex, a 22nd arrest was made on a man who wasn't able to attend the original sting, but showed up later that day.
According to police, 31-year-old Scott Michael Henson, of Gainesville, was arrested after police held a press conference highlighting the success of their sting, which was covered by local media.
"Apparently he couldn't meet with the undercover until that point, and we were happy to oblige by meeting him later," Gainesville Police Department spokesman Ben Tobias said.
The arrest was announced after News4Jax found that two of the other men arrested in the sting had ties to Santa Fe College in Gainesville.
Anthony Stamper, 21, is a student at Santa Fe College, and Kevin Kasper, 51, is a math professor there, according to Santa Fe College Police Chief Ed Book. Kasper's name is no longer listed on the faculty website.
"We need to research to make sure that nobody was impacted at our campus, but the reality is when somebody is trying to victimize someone, we take it very seriously on or off campus," Book said.
Of those arrested, many remained in jail Wednesday with bond amounts ranging from $75,000 to $300,000.
According to his arrest report, Kasper stopped on his way to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex to buy a bag of Skittles after learning it was her favorite treat.
The report said Kasper exchanged text messages with someone he believed was the parent or guardian of the 14-year-old and set up a meeting to have sex with the teen. The report also said that Kasper stated that he had a vasectomy, so pregnancy was not an issue.
Investigators said that Stamper also talked with agents posing as a 14-year-old girl and arranged to meet for sex. He also agreed to bring the girl Skittles and had the candy with him when he was arrested.
"Santa Fe College does not tolerate victimization of others of any kind," Book said. "When somebody attempts to create an act of sexual violence against someone, we take that very seriously."
Video released by the Gainesville Police Department shows 25-year-old Dominique Oliver being arrested last week.
Oliver's arrest report said he communicated via email and text message with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl. His neighbor, who asked not to be named, said that the Internet has made crimes like this too easy.
"There's not that many kids around here, but just to be trying to do that with kids that's a problem," the neighbor said. "I had no idea that somebody in the neighborhood was doing it. But just to know that somebody like my neighbor was doing that with kids, that's terrible. It's real terrible."
Many offenders brought condoms and other sexual paraphernalia to the meetings, according to GPD spokesman Ben Tobias. Of those arrested, one had a prior lewd and lascivious molestation conviction and one was on federal probation for a weapons charge. Kaelan Beddoe, 21, had a bat, rubber gloves, rope and a tarp in his car when he went to meet the child.
The 22 men arrested in Operation Panther were:
- Beau Allen, 22
- Cody Bebee, 23
- Kaelan Beddoe, 21
- Kyle Cadegiani, 26
- Raul Ellington, 22
- Eric Frye, 30
- Courtney Grant, 27
- Scott Michael Henson, 31
- Aubner Herrera-Castillo, 28
- Kevin Kasper, 51
- Patrick Koenigstein, 56
- Ricardo Lopez, 47
- Larry Lucas, 43
- Manuel Martinez-Torres, 39
- Charles Middlebrooks, 25
- Dominique Oliver, 25
- Alan Orsini, 48
- Andrew Ortiz-Gomez, 22
- Michael Parson, 19
- Eugene Slevin, 19
- Anthony Stamper, 21
- Nathaniel Watson, 32
The operation was led by the Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, or ICAC, which is headquartered at the Gainesville Police Department.
Investigators said all 22 men are facing state charges right now, but some could face federal charges.
"I can't believe that in this day and age, the way that we know and look out for our youth and our kids, that we still have offenders who are trolling the Internet to try to find and victimize other young people," Book said. "To me it is unfathomable."