23 arrested trying to meet young teens for sex - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

23 arrested trying to meet young teens for sex

(Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)
(Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Effingham County Sheriff's Office)

The Effingham County Sherriff’s Office wrapped up a 10-week long round-up of men that attempted to meet young teenage girls for sex.

Detective Joe Heath, with the ECSO Crimes Against Children’s Task Force, spent June, July, and August posing as young teenagers in chat rooms and phone apps. During that time, 23 men were arrested and charged for traveling to Effingham County in order to meet with teens.

Instead, they were greeted by deputies.

"When they are expecting some pretty little girl and get me they are usually very sad,"
said Detective Joe Heath.

When school is out for summer, that time period is when deputies say they see a lot of predators hitting the web.

"It is actually our prime hunting season," said Heath.

Heath will chat with the suspects for however long is needed. The conversations can last from 20 minutes to up to several years.

"Everyone had their own preference, and their own fetish. All of them were coming to meet a girl for sex,” said Heath. "We put ourselves out there as a child. We never lead them into anything, we always follow their lead."

This type of round-up is something that has been done before in the county.

“We have always gotten good numbers from them but this is a little more than we expected," said Heath. "A lot of them say, ‘We were just coming to tell her it was a bad idea, we wanted to talk her out of it, but we wanted to tell her person.’”

Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie said, "What surprises me is that these guys will say, ‘Hey, I can get locked up for this.’ Well, if they know they can get locked up, why are they doing it?”

"We could do this nonstop, 24/7 and have plenty of targets," said Heath. “We are getting a lot of them off social media sites now. There are a lot of apps, messaging apps. We are getting a lot from that. The chat rooms are kind of a thing of the past. It is most on apps right now. Just monitor their electronic devices. My kids call my wife a stalker. She is very good about always checking with the kids. You just have to be the best stalker."

Here is a list of those arrested in this 10 week round-up:

  • Gerald Ortega
  • Timothy James
  • Sam Foote
  • Eric Crews
  • Richard Deloach
  • Cody Magee
  • Jack Allen
  • Kenneth Conti
  • Emsub Selmic
  • Ricky Slusher


  • Richard Reid
  • Juston Williamson
  • Joe Pittman
  • Williamson Mellinger
  • David Riffle
  • Joseph Wozniak


  • Jason Peavy
  • Robert Richardson
  • Charles Monroe
  • Alvin Williams
  • Brian Temple
  • Matt Brown
  • Charles Roads

Two of the men were picked up for Child Pornography charges. The rest will be charged with Criminal Attempt to Molest a Child.

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