Scranton, Pa

Operation Full Court Press Arrests Illustrate the Threat of Pedophilic Sex Buyers

Posted: November 28, 2022

Gary Seevers of Beaver, Pennsylvania received a sentence of only six months in jail after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor to engage in sexual activity and possessing criminal tools. The charges show that the offenses took place on August 1, 2021. Seevers has started serving his six-month sentence and must also register as a Tier One sex offender.

Seevers’ arrest was one of thirty-four arrests of Operation Full Court Press. The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force conducted this operation over a two-month period in 2021. Multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies were involved in the investigation. Agents posed as underaged individuals online, seeking to expose potential threats. Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene stated, “[w]e started looking for people that were basically trolling the internet and looking for underage boys and girls to have sex with…they’ll be given an address…and that’s where the arrest will take place.”

The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force has conducted similar operations in the past. As we previously reported, the first sting occurred on March 14, 2019, leading to the arrest of eight men. The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force is a part of the Attorney General’s Office and the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost stated in 2019, “[t]his trap will be laid time and time again until the message reverberates — don’t buy sex in Ohio.” The CSE Institute is glad these words have rung true, and that the Task Force is continuing to pursue this important work.

Operation Full Court Press also illustrates the real and continual threat of pedophilic sex buyers. Statistics from The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children also show that they received more than 17,200 reports in 2021 of possible child sex trafficking cases. Thus, even though only undercover officers were involved in this case and there was no actual minor victim exploited, these disturbing pedophilic sex buyers exist.

The CSE Institute commends the work of law enforcement in the neighboring state of Ohio and will continue to advocate for these vital investigations as well as for sentences that reflect the egregiousness of the behavior of those who intend to engage in commercial sex with children.

All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University. 

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