Originally published as a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office Facebook post –
“A total of 18 men from the Sacramento Region have been arrested and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail on various felony charges related to arranging to meet with a child for sex. The arrestees range in age from 19 to 57. Operation Catch-A-Predator remains an ongoing investigation and more arrests could be made.
The arrests are the result of an undercover investigation “Operation Catch-A-Predator,” which was conducted by the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force / Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force from August 23 to August 27, 2021. Agencies involved included: The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office, Sacramento County Probation Department, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), California Department of Justice, and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Detectives with the ICAC Task Force and special agents with HSI constructed an operation to identify, contact and arrest anyone who may be trying to target a child for sex. Detectives used technology against these predators, posing as 12 and 13 year old boys and girls, conversing with men through online apps.
During their conversations, these suspects used sexually explicit language and sent graphic photos to the detectives who were pretending to be a child. Once the suspect requested to meet with the child, detectives arrived at a predetermined location and arrested them. No actual children were ever used or placed in danger during the operation.
One of the most notable arrests was that of 56 year old Ronald Ray Lovell of Tracy California. Lovell worked for the Tracy Unified School District and was a girls’ sophomore basketball coach at Kimball High School from 2010 to 2015. Lovell then worked as the varsity girls’ basketball coach at West High School from 2015 to 2019. He resigned from the district in September of 2019.
So far in 2021, ICAC has made 54 arrests connected to child sexual predators. Previously in 2020, the ICAC Task Force made 55 arrests related to child predators and the distribution and possession of child pornography. Most arrests connected to child pornography occur with victims not being known due to its violent material being produced all around the world and then shared across the internet.
Children have engaged more with people through social media and chat sites due to school closures and the reduction in extra-curricular activities due to the COVID Pandemic. A potential danger of being online more often is an encounter with a sexual predator who is seeking out relationships with children. Law enforcement would like to remind the public to be vigilant when it comes to visiting websites and social media outlets.
Parents should also monitor their children’s internet usage and be aware of the software apps they are using. Parents should keep the dialogue open with their children in order to build trust. Online predators often pretend to be someone else in order to lure their victims in and take advantage of them. Teach your children to be wary of the person on the other end of the chat line; many times people are not who they say they are. Report any suspicious behavior right away to law enforcement or file a cyber tip through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. https://report.cybertip.org/
The Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force / ICAC is comprised of 106 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies spread throughout thirty counties in Northern and Central California. It is dedicated to protecting children online and investigating crimes committed against children, which are facilitated by the Internet and computer usage.”
18 ARRESTS IN “OPERATION CATCH-A-PREDATOR” was last modified: September 7th, 2021 by