Authorities make arrests in online sex sting
KALISPELL, Mont. - An online sex sting has led to the arrest of seven men, including six in the Flathead.
The Montana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force coordinated the sting with state and local deputies.
Flathead County Sheriff Chuck Curry says he's seeing an increasing problem across the country with cyber crimes targeting young children.
"I think just the numbers of people we saw in this operation that we arrested and dealt with indicates that it's a huge problem, and it's one that we need to pay more attention to," Curry said.
Officers arrested seven people in an undercover investigation over four days from August 18 to August 21.
Six of them -- Justin Zeiss, Benjamin Emrich, Christopher Adams, Karl Wortley, Joshua Naethe and Daniel Hall were all arrested in Flathead County.
Adams volunteered with the youth services at the Kalispell First Church of the Nazarene.
In addition, Curtis Foster was arrested in Missoula, during an operation outside of the Thunderbird Motel.
We read over the charging documents to find out how the operations were conducted.
The documents show officers would post would post enticing ads on websites like Craigslist.
The suspects reportedly contacted the officers and tried to meet up with who they thought to be young children, only to be confronted by law enforcement.
"It's something that we take very seriously. It's something that in law enforcement we probably not paid as much attention to historically as we should of just because it's a new medium," said Curry.
Curry says access to the internet is growing and he believes parents should become more actively involved in monitoring their own children online.
"I think it's very important for parents to know who their kids are talking to, know what their kids activities are online, while we in law enforcement have an increasing presence on the internet, we're not there every day with every kid," Curry said.
The accused are facing charges of sexual abuse of children. If convicted, they could face up to 100 years in prison and up to $50,000 in fines.