Crime

13 accused child sex predators, traffickers arrested in state operation

MADISON, Wis. - Thirteen people across 13 Wisconsin counties are facing charges this week as part of a statewide investigation into child exploitation and online crimes, according to a news release. 

The State Department of Justice announced the arrests Wednesday, saying that officers from Brown, Clark, Columbia, Dane, Eau Claire, Marquette, Outagamie, Rock, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Winnebago counties were involved in Operation New Hope. Attorney General Brad Schimel said the effort brought together law enforcement members and victim advocacy groups to stop the sexual exploitation and abuse of children.

Arrests included:

In Dane County, Fujjie Zhan faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography. 

In Outagamie County, Scott D. Lecker was taken into custody on suspicion of child enticement prostitution and trafficking of a child; Jonathan Herschberger is facing 10 counts of possession of child pornography; and Christopher R. Lutzewitz is facing three charges of possession of child pornography. 

In Eau Claire County, Pierre Amyotte is facing a charge of second-degree sexual assault of a child younger than 16, attempted child enticement and using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

In Sheboygan County, Joseph T. Cajacob faces three counts of causing a child 13-18  to view sexual activity. 

In Winnebago County, Shawn L. Hanson faces six counts of exposing a child to harmful matter and one count of child enticement including exposing genitals. 

In Shawano County, James Stevens faces one count of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime and one count of child enticement including sexual contact; Brandon W. Stewart faces one count of using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime; and Jeff Vadnais-Speck faces one count of child enticement including sexual contact, one count of child enticement by giving the child drugs and one count of resisting or obstructing an officer. 

Jerome G. George is facing eight counts of possession of child pornography, one count of possession of improvised explosives and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. 

In Columbia County, Norman Clegg faces one count of possession of child pornography; and Gary L. Worthley faces two counts of felony bail jumping, two counts of misdemeanor bail jumping and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia.  

Five of the people arrested were registered sex offenders or had previously been arrested for internet crimes against children, officials said.

According to the release, some of the charges against those arrested were possession of child pornography; exposing a child to harmful material; child enticement; use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime; attempted sexual assault of a child; causing a child to view sexual activity; and trafficking of a child.

Three other men were taken into custody in connection with the investigation, but charges against them were pending Wednesday, according to the release. 


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