A six-month investigation by CNN has revealed that 35 staffers, typically known for entertaining and engaging children at three popular Orlando theme parks, have been arrested in child sex stings or for child porn charges since 2006.
The investigation, which revealed a diversity of suspects, like married employees, a pastor and those who have worked with children for years, included five arrests from Universal Studios Orlando and two more from SeaWorld Orlando.
Thirty-two have been found guilty, eight have been found not guilty and two have not entered a plea.
In the latest sting that ended in July, two Disney employees and an employee at Universal Studios were among those arrested by Polk County Sheriff’s detectives. One of those arrested was 40-year-old Allen Treaster, a concierge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge who used to work at Disney’s popular Toy Story ride. The police report said he advertised himself online as “Big Teddy Bear for younger chaser.”
Detectives arrested Treaster after he showed up at a house to meet someone police said he thought was a 14-year-old boy, hoping to “fulfill a fantasy,” according to his text messages. Treaster was actually communicating with an undercover detective. He has pleaded not guilty.
During the videotaped interrogation with detectives, Treaster confessed to having sex with a teenage boy he met online 3½ weeks before his arrest. He said he drove to Georgia to meet the boy at his house, then took him to a hotel where they had sex, according to the interrogation video.
The undercover detective asked Treaster, “OK and when did you find out how old he was?”
“Honestly, I found out before I met him, but you know,” Treaster said.
The other suspects were also caught traveling to meet someone who they thought was an underage child, but in actuality was a detective working with law enforcement.
Neither representatives at Disney, SeaWorld nor Universal Studios could be reached late Monday, but did defend their employee pre-screening process:
“We have extensive measures in place, including pre-employment and ongoing criminal background checks and computer monitoring and firewalls,” Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a statement “The numbers reported by CNN represent one one-hundredth of one percent of the 300,000 people we have employed during this time period.”
Visit CNN for more on the arrests and the in-depth investigation.
SOURCE: CNN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty