3 Walt Disney Employees Among 17 Suspects Arrested in Undercover Child Predator Operation

Three Walt Disney employees were among the 17 suspects arrested following an undercover child predator operation in Florida.

On Tuesday, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said 17 suspects were arrested following the completion of their undercover child predator operation, titled "Operation Child Protector."

In a press release, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said three of the 17 suspects worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. According to the sheriff's office, one of the Disney employees was identified as 26-year-old Kenneth Javier Aquino of Orlando.

"On July 27, 2021, Aquino engaged in an online conversation on a social networking site with an undercover detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl. He asked the 'girl' to send photos, and sent her an explicit video of himself," the sheriff's office said in the press release.

According to the press release, after Aquino asked the "girl" for her address and when he arrived to an undercover location, he was arrested by detectives "without incident."

"He told deputies that he is a lifeguard at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Walt Disney World. When he arrived at the undercover location he was still wearing his Disney polo shirt, swimming trunks, and Crocs," the sheriff's office said, adding that Aquino was also a "Navy veteran and has a pregnant girlfriend."

Aquino was booked into Polk County Jail and charged with one count of traveling to meet a minor for sex; one count of attempted lewd battery; and one count of transmission of material harmful to a minor.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office identified two other individuals that were employed at Walt Disney parks and were arrested following the operation. The sheriff's office arrested 34-year-old Jonathan McGrew of Kissimmee and his girlfriend, 29-year-old Savannah Lawrence.

According to the press release, McGrew began an online conversation with an undercover detective posing as a 13-year-old girl on August 1 and he told the "girl" that "he wanted her to come to his apartment and have sex with him and his girlfriend, Savannah Lawrence."

The press release said after McGrew asked for an address to meet the "girl" he and his girlfriend took an Uber to the location where they were arrested by detectives.

Both McGrew and Lawrence "told deputies that they are custodians at Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios."

McGrew and Lawrence were both charged with one count of traveling to meet a minor for sex and one count of attempted lewd battery. McGrew was also charged with two counts of of transmission of material harmful to a minor.

Newsweek reached out to Disney for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

"It's so important for parents to be aware of what their children are doing online. They need to be all up in their kids' business when it comes to monitoring their child's access to the internet," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement sent to Newsweek.

In addition to the three Disney employees, 14 other suspects were also arrested following the completion of the operation. "In all, detectives arrested 17 suspects, who face a total of 49 felony and two misdemeanor charges," the sheriff's office said.

During a recent press conference announcing the completion of the operation Judd said "These are nasty, nasty people."

Judd continued,"We can't even use the words that they used. We obviously can't show the pictures and video clips that they sent to what they thought were 13-year-old little girls and little boys."

17 Arrested in undercover operation
The Polk County Sheriff's Office said on Tuesday that 17 suspects were arrested following the completion of an undercover child predator operation. Three of the 17 were identified as employees at Walt Disney World. Larry W. Smith/Getty

A full list of the 17 arrested suspects and the charges they face can be found here.