An active-duty Air Force captain is one of 104 people taken into custody Saturday in a Polk County prostitution sting targeting human trafficking.
Air Force Capt. Dirk Watson, stationed at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is accused of trying to have sex with a teenage girl and is the only such suspect to be charged with that particular crime.
Hard-nosed Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd doesn’t show much sympathy for the airman.
“This is our poster child,” the sheriff said. “You see, here is a sharp-looking man. What I see there is a child predator.”
Judd describes Watson’s heinous actions leading up to his arrest. The sheriff tells WESH News the captain, who is from Merritt Island, thought he was talking to a 14-year-old girl online and arranged a meeting, but an undercover deputy was actually on the other side of the conversation.
“He had horrible, graphic communications online with an undercover detective, who clearly indicated she was only 14 years of age,” Judd said.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Watson is facing charges of using a computer to seduce a child, traveling to meet a minor and lewd molestation, according to the Sheriff’s Office. He told deputies he coaches his son’s little league baseball team, and that he was supposed to meet his family at Disney World on Sunday — the day after his arrest.
Judd said Watson should have spent weekend with his family instead of trying to traffic a teen girl telling WESH the crime allegedly took place while the rest of his family was enjoying a theme-park vacation.
“He should’ve gone to the family weekend at Disney. Instead, he was arrested,” he said. “Our goal is to make sure that these predators, these child predators, don’t have access to our children.”
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