Suspected Sexual Predators Nabbed In Internet Sting
Saturday, February 10th 2007, 2:25 pm
News On 6
WALTERS, Okla. (AP) _ Police in this small southern Oklahoma town have been casting a wide net for sexual predators that culminated this week with charges against five Oklahoma men for soliciting sex with a girl under 16.
Since November, Police Chief Mike Carter's four-man department and a handful of reserves have netted 14 suspected sexual predators _ men who traveled to this Cotton County town under the premise they were meeting an underage child for a sexual liaison.
Among those arrested are four Fort Sill soldiers and a preacher from Tahlequah. One 38-year-old man drove five hours from Kansas to meet with a 14-year-old girl. He instead met undercover police.
``The first day we started this, I was shocked,'' said Carter, who has served as chief since August. ``These guys were driving down here with the idea they were going to have sex with 12-, 14-, and 15-year-old girls. That's scary ...''.
Defendants Christopher Allen Dale, 26, Tulsa; Shaun Evan Green, 22, Bristow; Shannon Lee Sanner, 35, Norman; William Charles Sill Jr., 39, Ada; and Bobby Creech Thomas, 46, Cement, all made their initial appearance Friday before Associate District Judge Michael Flanagan.
Overall, there have been eight men charged with soliciting sex from a child under 16 in Cotton County. Pvt. 2nd Class James William Rowe, Jr., 24, of Fort Sill; Matthew J. Sheehan, 21, of Oklahoma City; and John Robert Nutt, 39, of Bainbridge, Ind., were the first to be charged in district court.
Nutt was in Oklahoma City when he began an online chat with one of Walters' undercover police officers, authorities said.
If convicted, each defendant could face between three and 20 years in a state prison.
``It's just shocking,'' said John Sheppard, Walters city manager. ``No one ever imagined this thing would get this big. One day they had 18 men lined up. They caught 11. I mean these guys were practically bumping into each other at the door.
``And they are coming loaded with sexual toys and alcohol and drugs. They look like they're going to a bear hunt.''
Robbie Carter _ the chief's wife and one of our reserve officers _ helped with the sting.
``At one point, she was chatting with 51 different guys online.''
Five of those arrested have been charged in federal court _ Sgt. Scott William Johnson, 34, of Fort Sill; Charles Barry Shaffer, 45, of Tahlequah; Sgt. John Douglas Graham, 27, of Fort Sill; Sgt. Jamie Ramirez, 27, of Fort Sill; Jeffrey Allen Mayhofen, 41, of Chickasha; and Lawrence Paul Mai, 38, of Salinas, Kan.
Shaffer told police he was a Church of Christ preacher in his hometown.