Dozens of men ranging in ages 18-68 stand accused in Manatee County of seeking to have sex with a 14-year-old girl over the weekend of Sept. 16-17.
Among those arrested was Brandt Clark, 18, 104 11th St. S., Bradenton Beach.
Police say, in reality, Clark and the others were unknowingly caught up in an Internet Crimes Against Children investigation.
ICAC is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces, which was created to help federal, state and local law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative responses to those who use online technologies to sexually exploit children.
Clark was arrested Sept. 16, the second day of the investigation. According to the probable cause affidavit, Clark responded to an online ad that was headlined with “Saturday blues, Grandma’s house.”
The text in the ad stated, “Hey, I’m stuck house sitting, looking for a cutie to enjoy the day with. Hit me up with a pic and we can see where this goes.”
Police say Clark and the other men responded to the ad. Once the conversation turned sexual, the suspects were informed they were speaking with a 14-year-old girl, according to the report, and they soon arrived to the unlisted address provided for the fictional girl.
Some suspects drove from as far as Orlando, Naples, Arcadia, Mulberry and Port Charlotte. Others drove from Sarasota, Brandon and from within Manatee County.
Clark is charged with felony use of a computer to seduce a child. He was booked into the Manatee County jail and, as of press time, remained in custody on $50,000 bond.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the Manatee County Judicial Center, 1051 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.