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35 Disney workers arrested in child sex crimes

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At least 35 Disney World theme park workers have been arrested in the United States over child sex crimes in recent years.

The employees have been arrested since 2006 in Florida. So far, 32 of those cases have resulted in convictions.

“Wherever you find children, you’ll find sexual predators that want to be there,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The toll of the park’s employees arrested was revealed after a six-month investigation by CNN.

Those arrested over possession of child pornography or arranging to meet minors for sex include security guards, a costumer, a tour guide, a gift shop employee and maintenance workers.

Law enforcement officials have urged Disney and Universal Studios to take action on the matter by starting mandatory polygraph tests before new hires join the company.

During a sting operation in February, 32-year-old Patrick Holgerson, then a character actor with Disney was accused of sending nude photos to someone he thought was a 13-year-old boy. When he arrived to meet the boy, he was greeted by police. Holgerson also faces charges for failing to disclose his HIV status to a sexual partner.

In another case, Tyler Edge, a Disney employee, allegedly brought a knife and condoms to the sting operation. Joel Torres, 32, who listed his employer as Walt Disney World, allegedly brought condoms to a home where he thought he was meeting a 14-year-old.

The Disney theme park in Florida has about 70,000 employees.

“The numbers reported by CNN represent one one-hundredth of 1 percent of the 300,000 people we have employed during this time period,” spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said.

“We continue to work closely with law enforcement and organizations, like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, as we constantly strengthen our efforts.”


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