You are not going to abuse our elderly you are not going to abuse our children.
Those are the words of Effingham County Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie.
He has made stopping child predators a mission of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Department. This summer that mission led to a lot of arrests.
40 men, all on the internet, all believed to be looking for the same thing, sex with a teen.
“Some of them were 14-15 year old girls,” explained Sheriff McDuffie. “Some 14-15 year old boys they thought they were coming to see.”
During the 10 weeks of “Operation Summer Heat”, all these alleged predators found were ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) agents and Effingham Sheriff’s deputies, handcuffs, and the inside of a jail cell.
“We had some right here in Guyton, Rincon, Pooler, Port Wentworth Savannah one from Barnwell, SC Swainsboro,” details Joe Heath of the ICAC Task Force and Effingham Sheriff’s Department
They didn’t just travel, they came loaded and ready.
Odrae Cennett had a gun and alcohol at the ready for his meeting.
Greg Jackson has something else with him when he arrived in Effingham county.
“You think you will never be surprised again but then you get one to show up and he’s got a 9-10 year old in the backseat. waiting,” said Heath. “That kind of surprises you still.”
“You’ve got some that are very cagey,” thinks Heath. “They are very hesitant with what they are doing very protective of what they are doing,. Some that are very blatant and kind of makes us feel like this is not their first rodeo.”
The only ride these guys got, is straight to jail.
“You are dealing with 14, 15 year old children,” said McDuffie. “They are trustworthy they have that trust in them they don’t know when someone is playing them, any one of them could be a kidnap victim.”
“Any one of those that we can prevent, makes us feel like we’ve been successful,” said the Sheriff.
Some of those arrested were already convicted sex offenders. Some of those on the registry in other states.
18 of those arrested are under the age of 30.
The 39 still facing charges could all face as much as 30 or even 40 years behind bars.
Even though summer is over, McDuffie says the operation will continue. Targeting anyone who wants to prey on children. The Sheriff wants everyone to know they are still watching, and will be sent straight to jail.
EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. – The Effingham County Sheriff’s Office’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task force conducted a 10 week operation over the summer that put 40 potential predators behind bars.
The suspects range in age from 21-years-old to 57-years-old. Some of them lived as far away as Rock Hill South Carolina and Hawkinsville, Georgia in Pulaski County. All were arrested in Effingham and Chatham counties.
One of those arrested was former Portal Elementary Principal Paul Hudson.
Effingham County Sheriff McDuffie and Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher say the operation is designed to send a clear message that those who target children for their own purposes will not be tolerated in Chatham and Effingham counties.
Child Exploitation Arrests
Child Exploitation Arrests x