16 arrested in North Texas child predator sting

Investigators in Cleburne set up for their first sting involving men trying to solicit young girls for sex, and the number of suspects arrested surprised the cops involved in the case.

Sixteen men were arrested. It’s a case that detectives say should be a wake-up call to parents.

One of the men arrested, James Hice, is an attorney.

Hice is general council and risk manager for McCusker Holding Corp. and heads up the legal department. 

Hice is one of the men arrested in just a four-day span by a Johnson County Special Crimes Unit.

Only one was from Johnson County; the rest were from all over the Metroplex.

Police say one of them, Johnathan Leever, was a registered sex offender.

Investigators say all of the suspects thought they were talking to a 14-year-old girl when it was actually a detective.
 
Cleburne police say Hice emailed who he thought was a 14-year-old girl statements like, “As long as you're not a cop or affiliated with them and want to give me some that's fine with me" and "I like young girls" and "I am wondering if you would like to [expletive] tomorrow" and "Will you be nearly naked at 11?”

Then, detectives say Hice messaged the girl "You can't get pregnant by me anyway I fire blanks.” 

Police say he arranged a meeting time and location for sex and was immediately arrested when he showed up. 

"Within a few minutes of going online and setting up an identity as a child, we were talking to offenders that wanted to come meet us and have sex with us,” said Cmdr. Adam King with the Cleburne Police Department.

It was the first time Cleburne police had done an online solicitation sting.

The state attorney general's office led the effort. 

"For most of the people that we arrested, the time from contact to sexually explicit talk to arranging a meeting was frighteningly short,” said Lt. Shane Wickson with the Cleburne Police Department. 

To have that many men arrested in such a short period of time should have parents worried. 

Tammy King is with the Children's Advocacy Center.

“These people have access to our children 24/7,” she said. “Parents need to understand about Instagram, Kik, Facebook and Snapchat, and MeetMe.com and all those things go that we see out there.”

While the arrest of an attorney means the face of this crime isn't what people think, that wasn't what shocked King, a veteran investigator. 

"Well we had one show up with a gun,” he said. “A couple showed up with drugs, but the gun really bothered me ‘cause it made me wonder, what did he have in store for this child that he was expecting to pick up? Why did he need a gun?”

The detective’s final thought: how many more are out there?

Counselors advise parents to adjust kids’ app settings, and if you aren't telling your kids they're loved, needed and special, someone else will.

An internet safety resource for parents can be found at http://www.b4uclick.org

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