21 Men Listed as Child Predators After Year-Long Investigation - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

21 Men Listed as Child Predators After Year-Long Investigation

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SNOW HILL, Md. - The Worcester County Sheriff's Office shared 21 names of men arrested in connection with child sex charges. The 21 names, all men, were snared through "Operation Worcester Safety Net", an operation in conjunction with the Internet Crimes Against Children task force,which was established in 1998 and is administered by the Department of Justice. 

Detective Corporal Alex Kagan was at the center of the operation, which began in December of 2013. Kagan often posed as an underage boy or girl on the internet and in text messages. A full list of the 21 men named and background on how they were investigated and charged is below. 

1. Jason Gregory Root (37):
In October of 2013, Root was identified to be downloading and sharing LARGE amounts of child pornography over a peer to peer file sharing network. At the time, Root was employed by a national company in a managerial position and was married with a teenage daughter and a young son. A search warrant was executed on Root's home, just outside of Snow Hill, where a large amount of child pornography was located. Root took a plea to Possession of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography with the Intent to Distribute and was sentenced to 5 years in jail.

2. Laiton Blake Witkowski (42): On February 6, 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan along with other members of the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security and the Maryland State Police executed a Search and Seizure Warrant at the Witkowski home in Stockton, Maryland. Detectives had previously detected that a LARGE amount of child pornography was being downloaded and uploaded from the residence. Our investigation revealed that the home owner's son, Laiton Witkowski, a long haul truck driver, was responsible. At the time the search warrant was executed, he was not at home. Numerous computers were seized as well as hundreds of CD's and DVD's with tens of thousands of images of horrific physical and sexual child abuse. After going through each of the disks, it was discovered that Witkowski had also been sexually abusing two children of a family friend and had videotaped and photographed the abuse. This case was adopted by the Federal Court System. Witkowski ended up taking a plea agreement and was found guilty of “Possession of Child Pornography” and “Producing Child Pornography”. He was sentenced to 16 years in Federal prison and will have to register as a Sex Offender for the remainder of his life.

3. Jose Cano-Lopez (21): On April 14, 2014, a Search Warrant was executed on a residence in Berlin, Maryland. Investigators had determined that child pornography was being uploaded and downloaded from that residence. Investigation revealed that 21 year old Jose Cano-Lopez was responsible. Also located inside of the residence were a large number of counterfeit “green cards” and Social Security Cards. Cano-Lopez was charged and took a plea agreement to Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography and was sentenced to 11 years in jail.

4. Darrell Lee Richardson (55): On June 10, 2014, a Search and Seizure Warrant was executed at Richardson's home in Pocomoke City, Maryland. Richardson's address had been detected uploading and downloading images of child erotica. Numerous computers and storage media was collected and Richardson admitted to being responsible. Richardson was charged with Possession and Distribution of Obscene Matter. Richardson took a plea to “Possession of Obscene Matter” and was sentenced to 60 days in the County Jail and 18 months of supervised probation.

5. David Brynan Kerstetter (55): On July 2, 2014, a Search and Seizure Warrant was executed at Kerstetter's residence outside of Berlin, Maryland. Kerstetter had been detected uploading and downloading large amounts of child pornography. During the execution of the search warrant, Kerstetter admitted to viewing “child erotica” but not “child pornography”. Numerous computers and storage devices were seized. Tens of thousands of images and videos of child pornography were found on Kerstetter's computers. Kerstetter was charged with Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography. The case is currently awaiting trial.

6. Scott Allen Woodgeard (35): July 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan detected someone in Parsonsburg, Maryland uploading and downloading large amounts of child pornography over a peer to peer file sharing network.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan determined the suspect was living in Parsonsburg, Maryland. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan contacted the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center and Homeland Security Investigations RAC Ocean City and assisted them in executing a Search Warrant on the residence. Investigation revealed that 35 year old Scott Allen Woodgeard was responsible. The case is pending in Wicomico County.

7. David Curtis Andrews (51): In July 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan detected someone in Salisbury, Maryland uploading and downloading large amounts of child pornography over a peer to peer file sharing network. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan determined the suspect was living in Salisbury, Maryland, and a REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan contacted the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center and Homeland Security Investigations RAC Ocean City and assisted them in executing a Search Warrant on the residence. Investigation revealed that 51 year old registered sex offender David Andrews was responsible and living at the residence with his wife and two minor children. Andrews' parole was violated and he is currently facing charges in Federal Court.

8. Ernest Patterson (44 years old): In August 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan detected someone in Fruitland, Maryland uploading and downloading large amounts of child pornography over a peer to peer file sharing network.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan determined the suspect was living in Fruitland, Maryland.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan contacted the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center and Department of Homeland Security Investigations RAC Ocean City and assisted them in executing a Search Warrant on the residence. Investigation revealed that Ernest Patterson was responsible and was living with his wife and teen daughters. Patterson had an extensive library of preteen hardcore pornography videos. The case is pending in Wicomico County.

9. Carlos Edwin Mejia (35 years old): In August 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with a man who responded. The suspect was later identified as 35 year old Carlos Mejia of Seaford, Delaware. Mejia and D/Cpl. Alex Kagan exchanged numerous text messages in which D/Cpl. Kagan told Mejia that he could arrange for Mejia to have sex with a 12 year old girl. On August 11, 2014 Mejia arrived to pick the “victim” up. Mejia was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. He was charged with “Solicitation of a Minor” and “Solicitation for Prostitution”. He is currently awaiting trial.

 10. Bruce Dennis Deforest (70): In September 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan answered an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with the poster who was later identified as 70 year old Bruce Deforest of Millsboro, Delaware. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan told Deforest that he was a 13 year old girl. Deforest solicited the victim for sexual intercourse and on October 1, 2014 he arrived to pick the victim up. Deforest had a pickup truck with a cap on the back in which he had a bedroll and pillow waiting. Numerous condoms and a bottle of sexual lubricant were located in the passenger compartment of his truck. Deforest was charged with Solicitation of a Minor and is currently awaiting trial.

11. John Edward McGee III (25): In October 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan answered an ad on a nation online website and began a discussion with the poster who was later identified as 25 year old John McGee of Laurel, Delaware. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan told McGee that he was a 13 year old girl. McGee solicited the “victim” for sexual intercourse and on October 17, 2014 he arrived to pick the victim up. At that time, McGee was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. Numerous condoms were located on McGee's person. McGee was arrested and charged with Solicitation of a Minor. The case is currently awaiting trial.

12. Dwayne Turley (41): In October 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan located a suspect in Pocomoke City, Maryland uploading and downloading large amounts of child pornography over a peer to peer network. The residence was owned by Dwayne Turley. A Search and Seizure warrant was executed and numerous computers were located. Turley denied any knowledge of the files. Charges are pending the final examination of Turley's computers.

13. James Russell Moore III (41): In October 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation.  D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with a man who responded. The suspect was later identified as 41 year old James Russell Moore III of Cambridge, Maryland. Moore and D/Cpl. Alex Kagan exchanged numerous text messages in which told Moore that D/Cpl. Kagan was a 13 year old girl. Moore solicited the “victim” for sexual intercourse and on October 31, 2014 he arrived to pick the “victim” up. Moore was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. Moore arrived in his girlfriend's vehicle and condoms were found in the glove box. Moore was charged with Solicitation of a Minor and is currently awaiting trial.

14. Pedro Josue Jimenez Cedillo (23): In November 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with a man who responded. The suspect, later identified as 23 year old Pedro Cedillo exchanged numerous text messages in which D/Cpl. Alex Kagan told Cedillo that he was a 13 year old girl. Cedillo solicited the “victim” for sexual intercourse and on November 3, 2014 he arrived to pick the “victim” up. Cedillo was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. Cedillo was married at the time of this event. A large number of condoms and sexual lubricant were located inside of Cedillo's vehicle. Cedillo was charged with Solicitation of a Minor and is currently awaiting trial.

15. Brandon Murry Ehrisman (27): In November 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with a man who responded. The suspect, later identified as 27 year old Brandon Ehrisman exchanged numerous text messages in which D/Cpl. Kagan told Ehrisman that he was a 13 year old girl. Ehrisman solicited the “victim” for sexual intercourse and on November 6, 2014 he arrived to pick the “victim” up. Ehrisman was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. Condoms were located inside of Ehrisman's minivan. Ehrisman was charged with Solicitation of Minor and is currently awaiting trial.

16. Richard Thomas Peters (39): In November 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national online website and began a discussion with a man who responded. The suspect, later identified as 39 year old Richard Peters exchanged numerous text messages in which D/Cpl. Alex Kagan told Peters that he was a 13 year old girl. Peter's solicited the “victim” for sexual intercourse and on November 25, 2014 he arrived to pick the “victim “up. Peters was taken into custody and admitted he had intended on engaging in sexual intercourse with the female. Condoms were located inside of Peter's vehicle. Peters was charged with Solicitation of a Minor and is currently awaiting trial.

17. Quinton Purnell Bell (50): In November 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan responded to an ad which was targeting someone younger. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began conversation which lasted approximately two weeks during which he identified himself as a 13 year old male. Bell sexually solicited the “victim”. On December 1, 2014, Bell arrived to meet with the juvenile. He was taken into custody. Bell is currently awaiting trial.

18. Frank Leroy Buccini (21): In November 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national website. A suspect, later identified as Frank Leroy Buccini responded.  During the course of the conversation, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan identified himself as a 13 year old female. Buccini sexually solicited the “victim”. On December 10, 2014, Buccini arrived to meet with the juvenile. He was taken into custody and is currently awaiting trial.

19. Miguel Valderas (23 years old): In December 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national website. A suspect, later identified as Miguel Angel Valderas responded and the conversation lasted approximately two weeks during which D/Cpl. Alex Kagan identified himself as a 14 year old female. Valderas sexually solicited the “victim” On December 12, 2014; Valderas arrived to meet with the juvenile. He was taken into custody. Valderas is currently awaiting trial.

20. David Andrew Weatherholtz (55 years old): On December 3, 2014, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began an investigation into Child Solicitation / Exploitation. D/Cpl. Alex Kagan responded to an ad on a national website. The ad was specifically looking for a younger male.  The poster later identified as David Weatherholtz and D/Cpl. Alex Kagan began a conversation during which D/Cpl. Kagan identified himself as a 13 year old male. Weatherholtz sexually solicited the “victim” and suggested that he tell his guardians that Weatherholtz was providing guitar lessons to him. Weatherholtz is a guitar teacher and owns "OC Jamboree" in West Ocean City.
On December 16, 2014 Weatherholtz arrived to meet the “victim” and was taken into custody for Solicitation of a Minor.
Based on the content of the communication between D/Cpl. Alex Kagan and Weatherholtz, he believed that there were other unidentified victims.A press release was done on this arrest. As a result of the press release, two more victims have come forward and stated that they were sexually assaulted by David Weatherholtz while they were juveniles. Weatherholtz was charged with both of those assaults as well.Weatherholtz is currently awaiting trial.

21. Richard Lee Maloy (41years old): Maloy is from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania. On Monday, January 5, 2015 at 2027 hours, D/Cpl. Alex Kagan posted an ad on a national website. On Tuesday, January 6, 2015 he received a reply from the suspect, later identified as Richard Maloy. The two communicated during which, D/Cpl. Kagan identified himself as a 14 year old female whom Maloy solicited for sexual activity. D/Cpl. Kagan arranged to meet with Maloy on Saturday, January 10, 2015 and Maloy was taken into custody. Maloy was charged with ‘Solicitation of a Minor” and is currently being held at the Worcester County Jail on a $100,000 bond and is awaiting trial. 

         The Worcester County Sheriff's Office is proud of the results of this operation.  The Sheriff's Office places the safety of our counties citizens above all else, especially our most vulnerable, our children.

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