A dozen high profile arrests have been made in Florida in a child sex sting involving an army colonel, a politician and a top attorney.
In the last week, police in North Florida arrested a dozen men seeking to engage in sexual acts with children.
One was a college student. One, Michael Chmielewski, was the manager of the Florida House of Representatives page and messenger program who oversaw hundreds of teenagers each legislative session since he was hired in 2012. Another was, Dayton Cramer, a retired Army colonel and high-ranking attorney with Florida State University, while another was a retired doctor from Washington State who investigators say was a documented child predator.
What they all had in common was when they made contact with someone they thought was a teen, in reality, they were communicating through email, text, chat rooms and internet ads with undercover officers.
The cases developed out of the sting by the Internet Crimes Against Children task force run by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and other local agencies.
It delivered a clear message, said Mark Perez, FDLE special agent in charge of the Tallahassee Regional Operations Center.
“If you prey on our children, we will find you and arrest you,” Perez said during a press conference at FDLE’s Tallahassee headquarters.
He said during the week-long sting, 19 different law enforcement agencies made eight arrests in the Tallahassee area and took four people into custody near Lake City.
Some of the 12 already were suspects in obscenity cases involving children. Arrests were being made as recently as Thursday when the press conference was held, Perez said.
“While most adults online immediately stop communicating with these investigators,” he said. “Once they believed they were children, the 12 suspects arrested during the operation only became more interested.”
There is no race, age or demographic that defines a sexual predator, Perez said. But the demographics represented in the arrests this week show how prevalent seeking sexual involvement with minors has become.
Among the men arrested is William Hall, a former clinical director of the Indian Health Services unit in Colville, Washington. Hall was a documented sexual predator in Washington, FDLE officials confirmed Thursday.
He, like the other 11 arrested in Operation Cupid’s Arrow, traveled to meet a person he thought was a young teen girl, a 14-year-old by the name of Sara.
The 64-year-old made contact with undercover officers using the online persona “Naughty Boy,” court records said. He made sexual references with the “girl” and traveled to meet the minor to have sex when he was arrested.
Hall retired in 2013 from his position as a doctor in Washington following an investigation by the Washington Department of Health. He was accused of making unwanted advances on several female patients. Hall’s address was listed in West Palm Beach.
The arrests, primarily the high-ranking FSU attorney and House page program manager, drew the attention of state senator and advocate for child sexual abuse Lauren Book.
“This week, Tallahassee was rocked by headlines telling of respected community members caught in the ‘Cupid’s Arrow’ sting: a lawyer, a (retired) doctor and an individual who works with children as young as 13 in the Capitol building,” Book said in an email. “This is shocking, it is terribly disturbing, but it is also all too familiar. I cannot say it enough. This happens in all communities, regardless of race, religion, education level or socioeconomic status. Any child can become a victim, and perpetrators are hiding in plain sight.”
The 12 men were arrested in Operation Cupid’s Arrow. Each was charged with traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child and obscene communication use of a computer to seduce/solicit a child.
- Tony Sheldon, 38 of Tallahassee.
- Philip Graham, 41, of Live Oak.
- William Hall, 64, of West Palm Beach.
- Calvin McFarland, 21, of Jacksonville.
- Kyl Johnson, 26 of Lake City.
- Christopher Francis, 34 of Tallahassee.
- Darrel Harvey, 48 of Tallahassee.
- Matthew Carter, 33 of Lake Park, Georgia.
- Frantisek Pribyl, 47 of Snellville, Georgia.
- Michael Chmielewski, 37 of Tallahassee.
- Dayton Cramer, 70 of Tallahassee.
- James Singletary, 53 of Jennings.