11 arrested in undercover operation targeting child predators, KCSO says

Crime Watch

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Eleven people were arrested in an operation targeting online child predators who agreed to meet with minors to engage in sex acts, sheriff’s officials said.

Those arrested include an employee of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, according to a sheriff’s release. Each man contacted an undercover detective posing as a child through online applications or websites. Some of the men were arrested at an arranged meeting place, others at home, officials said.

The sheriff’s office said the following men were arrested on charges including contacting a minor to commit lewd acts and arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd acts:

  • Jonah Scott Smutney, 24
  • Julio Vasquez, 38
  • Werner Ernest Leo III, 51
  • Tommy Hardin, 35
  • Brian Donaldson, 50
  • Roger Groza, 32
  • Jonathan Kenneth Simon, 42
  • Jeffrey Lee Lawson, 40
  • Jesus Valencia, 24
  • Robert Geivet, 42
  • Roberto Jesus Cortez, 39

All but Lawson live in Bakersfield. He lives in Porterville.

The sheriff’s office urged parents to closely monitor their children’s online activity and use security settings to prevent them from accessing inappropriate websites and online social media platforms. It also asked the public to report anyone attempting to coerce minors into providing sexually explicit images of themselves.

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