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Online Undercover Operation Results In Numerous Arrests - LEX18.com | Continuous News and StormTracker Weather

Online Undercover Operation Results In Numerous Arrests

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BOYLE COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)-- Eight adults are behind bars after officials say they were using a popular dating app to solicit sex from minors. 

An undercover deputy was posing as a 16-year-old boy. 

Following an online undercover operation, the individuals have all been charged with arranging to have sex with a minor. Individuals from Texas, Mississippi, and Kentucky were arrested and charged with Unlawful Transaction With A Minor-1st Degree-Illegal Sex Act, Victim Under 18 Years Of Age and/or Prohibited Use Of An Electronic Communication System To Procure Sex From A Minor.

Officials with the sheriff's department say "this type of activity poses a huge risk to our community and our children." They confirm that two of the arrested are repeat offenders, as they have been charged or convicted of having sex with a minor on other occasions.

Charged are:

  • Paul F. Hilpp II, 28 years old, of Lebanon
  • Joseph A. Brown II, 49 years old, of Danville – also charged with Attempted Escape-3rd Degree
  • Michael S. Cruse, 46 years old, of Columbus, Mississippi
  • Justin P. Jones, 40 years old, of Stanford
  • Dequan L. Brown, 23 years old, of Lebanon
  • Hubert D. Carter, 52 years old, of Ennis, Texas
  • Shawn A. Williams, 39 years old, of Springfield
  • Mark A. Shelton, 33 years old, of Stanford

We're told that Michael Shane Cruse was in town for a gospel singing competition at a Danville Church. He has since bonded out of jail. An organizer of the church's singing competition tells LEX 18 that Cruse won the contest but never showed up to claim his prize and give the winner's performance.

"We were absolutely shocked, and I guess you could say somewhat angry. But we didn't know the guy, we didn't know where he was at," said the event organizer. 

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