Since 2017, the Collin County Sheriff’s Office has conducted 220 arrests for sexual crimes against children, including online solicitation of a minor for sex.
According to Sheriff Jim Skinner, 100% of these cases have resulted in a criminal conviction so far.
“We have a 100% conviction rate on those cases,” Skinner said, attributing the conviction rate to a rigorous standard for probable cause. “When we make an arrest in one of these cases, you’re done.”
Of these arrests, 93 were conducted in an undercover capacity over the span of six operations: Operation Medusa, Operation Zeus, Operation Atlas, Operation Athena, Operation Hercules and most recently, Operation Safe Halloween. These operations were conducted in partnership with other state and federal organizations, including the Texas Department of Public Safety and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The remaining 127 arrests were “traditional investigative arrests.”
“Obviously, when the internet showed up, there has been a real proliferation of this simply because it gave predators a new tool to sort of invade the privacy of your own home and talk to your kids,” Skinner said.
One of the most notable cases to come from this string of operations was that of James Montgomery, the former mayor of Athens, Texas. Montgomery was arrested in June after he allegedly made text message contact with a party he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
“This guy was so cautious. This guy was filthy,” Skinner recalled.
While Operation Safe Halloween was announced in early November, an arrest from the investigation was made as recently as Dec. 9. Skinner said more investigations are being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office’s Child Exploitation Unit.
“If you’re planning to come here to this county and meet a child for sex, I’m looking for you,” he said.