A Disney World security guard and a SeaWorld janitor were arrested after being netted in a child sex sting run by Florida law enforcement, officials said.
The two were among 18 men busted in the Polk County, Florida, action dubbed Operation April's Fools. Those arrested had responded to fake online ads or profiles posted by detectives posing as children or as their guardians, according to the sheriff's office. The operation involved investigators from several Florida counties.
"We have to search out these predators before they get to our children," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd after the arrests. "Any child with a social media device means a predator has access to that child."
Two of the suspects solicited a man they believed was the father of a 10-year-old girl to arrange to have sex with her. Some sent pornographic photos of themselves, and some asked for nude photos of the fictitious children, according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
The 26-year-old Disney security guard "arrived at the undercover location to have sexual intercourse" with a girl he believed to be 14, according to the statement.
In online chats and texts, the guard told an undercover detective he wanted to do "everything" sexual, according to police. He brought condoms to the sting location and was wearing his Disney security guard uniform when he was arrested, said authorities.
He was charged with attempted lewd battery, travelling to meet a minor, use of a computer to seduce a child, and use of a two-way communication device to commit a felony.
The story was similar for the 19-year-old SeaWorld janitor, police said. He told cops after his arrest that he thought the "girl" he was meeting for sex was 14, according to investigators. It would have been a first time for him, police said he told them, but he was "high" and "horny."
SeaWorld quickly fired the janitor. The Disney security guard was placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the charges.
Representatives from both theme parks said the safety of their customers was paramount and that the companies undertake extensive background checks of employees. The security guard had a previous arrest for misdemeanor domestic violence, according to police.
The theme park arrests are particularly troubling because employees work around children constantly. A CNN investigation in 2014 found that 35 Disney employees as well as two SeaWorld and five Universal workers had been arrested since 2006 for sex crimes or attempted sex crimes involving children, or for child pornography.
Others arrested in the Polk County sting included a former firefighter, a hospital technician and an airline customer services manager.