POLK COUNTY, FL – The furrowed brow and frown on the face of Zachary Hudson, a Walt Disney World bus driver, pretty much says it all.
Hudson was among a group of 12 people arrested recently by a team of Florida law enforcement agencies running an undercover operation targeting online sexual solicitation of minors.
Beginning June 2, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Auburndale Police Department and Winter Haven Police Department jointly conducted the two-week long “Operation Child Predator II.”
We call these guys "the worst of the worst" – these 12 were arrested after chatting with undercover detectives online – NOT the children they thought they were grooming & soliciting. Read the release: https://t.co/DfGYgcQhJk
— Polk County Sheriff 🚔 Grady Judd (@PolkCoSheriff) June 17, 2022
During the operation, detectives posed as children on various social media platforms, mobile apps, and online dating sites “to investigate those who prey upon and travel to meet children for unlawful sexual activity,” according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Those arrested range in age from 20 to 67 years old and they face a total of 49 felony charges. Four of the suspects allegedly showed up to an undercover location multiple times in Polk County to meet with whom they believed to be children “to sexually batter them,” the agency said.
There is always at least one WDW employee caught in the child predator stings, as evidenced by the number of YouTube videos from the PCSO going back several years.
Hudson, 30, told police that he’s a bus driver at Walt Disney World and his mugshot was taken while he was wearing his uniform. Officials said Hudson engaged in sexual conversations with the undercover detective while Hudson was on the clock at Walt Disney World.
According to the PCSO, Hudson engaged in online conversations with a detective who posed as a 15-year-old girl. When the undercover detective asked Hudson if her age was okay, he allegedly asked “my being older doesn’t bother you” and later said “age is just a number,” according to officials.
When the conversation moved to texting, Hudson allegedly described what he wanted to do to the 15-year-old girl sexually, adding that he would be “honored” to take her virginity, the sheriff’s office said. He also allegedly sent a nude picture of himself.
For unknown reasons, Hudson told the undercover detective that he was employed as a Walt Disney World bus driver, officials said.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who has become known nationwide for his child-predator stings, said that Hudson told the detective that “what we said could get us all in trouble.”
Zachary Hudson, 30, a Walt Disney World bus driver, arrested in undercover child predator investigation. He allegedly sent an undercover agent posing as a 15-year-old girl explicit messages and photos of his penis while he was working. He was arrested on the Disney property. pic.twitter.com/tcxc7r4kab
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) June 19, 2022
During conversations with the undercover detective, Hudson expressed a desire to wrap his hands around the girl’s “small tiny body,” Sheriff Judd said at a news conference announcing the arrests.
The “cast member,” as they are called by Walt Disney World, allegedly warned the girl multiple times that she had to stay quiet about their relationship, saying it had to be “our secret,” Sheriff Judd said.
He paraphrased what Hudson allegedly said to the undercover detective:
“You know, I could go to jail. But I’d risk it for spending some time with you. I’d risk going to jail.”
He was arrested in Orlando and booked into the Orange County Jail, and now faces one count of use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony and one count of transmission of material harmful to a minor.
“So if your bus was running late at Disney, he was busy taking pictures of himself and talking trash to what he thought was a little girl.”
Days after Disney CEO slams Florida law protecting kids, Disney employees arrested in massive sex sting
March 17, 2022
ORLANDO, FL- On Wednesday, March 16th, the Sheriff of Polk County held a press conference announcing the massive sting operation which led to 108 arrests being made, including four Disney employees.
— Roland Deschain (@RolandD89247800) March 17, 2022
According to the Post Millennial, the announcement came just days after the CEO of Disney loudly and publicly opposed Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education Act, which polls allegedly show, is supported by over 60 percent of Americans.
The sting, dubbed “Operation March Sadness Two,” was a multi-agency effort centered around Florida’s Polk County, which lies just southwest of the Orlando urban area and is typically full of tourists.
The sting was a six-day undercover investigation that focused on human trafficking, prostitution, and child predators.
Most of the arrests involved people accused of human trafficking or soliciting prostitution, the sheriff’s office also made four arrests for alleged crimes against children. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement:
“This is huge. Four arrests of this magnitude is simply remarkable.”
There were also four Disney employees among the 108 arrests, including a man who worked as a lifeguard at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
The Sheriff of Polk County held a press conference on Wednesday talking about the culmination of a massive sting operation which lead to 108 arrests being made, including employees of FunSpot and Disney. … https://t.co/4sJ5XcUcIz
— SkyNet Platforms: #TheBrain (@SkyNetPlatform) March 16, 2022
Deputies said that 27-year-old Xavier Jackson, who worked as a lifeguard at the resort, sent sexual images and graphic descriptions of “what he wanted to do” to an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl. Judd said:
“You think there’s a few children around here? That’s right, I didn’t stutter. He was a lifeguard at the Polynesian Resort and he was bragging about that.”
Three other Disney employees were arrested during the operation, however, their alleged crimes did not involve minors.
One of the accused suspects, is a 24-year-old man who worked at the Cosmic Restaurant in Walt Disney World’s Tomorrowland. He reportedly worked at Disney for four years. A software developer for Disney and someone who works in IT for the company were also arrested.
Sheriff Judd also stated that 66-year-old Daniel Peters, of Illinois, was also arrested. Peters served as a judge in Cook County (4th Sub Circuit) and as a special assistant for legal affairs at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois.
Deputies said that Peters requested an attorney, to which Sheriff Judd responded by saying:
“Well judge, you need an attorney. You got problems.”
Not a good look… The Sheriff of Polk County held a press conference on Wednesday talking about the culmination of a massive sting operation which lead to 108 arrests being made, including employees of FunSpot and Disney. https://t.co/Hc3KLmGvsr https://t.co/X5yOXQCwKZ
— CrossPolitic (@CrossPolitic) March 16, 2022
Peters was charged with soliciting a prostitute. Polk County Detectives said they identified prostitutes who posted online advertisements as well as “johns” who sought the prostitutes online.
The sheriff’s office said the operation “had the intent to identify and free any victims who were being forced into prostitution [human trafficking], or anyone participating in the trafficking of victims.”
Among those already listed, a worker at the Fun Spot family amusement park was arrested as well as a woman accused of trafficking another young woman.
Wilakson Fidele works at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland and Ralph Leese works in IT. Reportedly, Walt Disney World has placed the three employees on unpaid leave. Timothy Finley, a 39-year-old handyman, has been charged with traveling to meet a young child, resisting arrest, attempted lewd battery, and transmission of explicit material.
Shannon Johnson, 41, has been charged with traveling to meet a 13-year-old girl, attempted lewd battery, and transmission of explicit material. Jody Rose, 36, is facing 11 felony charges for allegedly sending sexually explicit material to who he believed was a 14-year-old girl, saying, “Don’t tell the cops.”
Judd also singled out Richard Jackson, who has been accused of seeking a prostitute and who deals with children as an employee at Fun Spot amusement park; Nelson Cruz, a Cracker Barrel manager who allegedly told authorities he was seeking a prostitute after an argument with his wife; and Tiffany Nash, a KFC manager with 61 prior criminal charges who was allegedly caught bringing a trafficking victim to what she believed was a sexual encounter.
Auburndale Police Chief Andy Ray addressed reporters after Judd to thank all parties involved in the successful operation. He said:
“Everybody is involved in this because it’s important and because the victims of human trafficking and the sex business deserve our help and need our help. We’re happy to be part of taking people off the street that are dangerous to your kids and the community.”
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