An investigation into online predators by the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department has led to the arrest of a fifth suspect.
Ronnie Lackey, 30, of Cleburne, was arrested on Oct. 29 for online solicitation of a minor under 14 years of age.
Lackey is the fifth suspect arrested in just weeks for a crime that has nabbed several others males including Stephenville Fire Marshal Gary Nabors on Oct. 15 and Harvey Ray Curry, 60, of Brownwood, on Oct. 12 for online solicitation of a minor under 14.
Kenneth Charles Moore, 23, of Acton, and Roger Dale Landry II of Orange County were also arrested and charged with online solicitation of a minor. Landry is also charged with promoting child pornography.
Chief Deputy Darrell McCravey said one of the initial investigations stemmed from a complaint, but he would not disclose which case.
The investigations, which began about a month ago, stem from issues the department is used to dealing with.
“There have always been people out there looking to take advantage of a kid,” McCravey said. “The Internet just gives them easy access.”
Lt. Anders Dahl said Somervell County, along with other local law enforcement agencies, receive training on online predators on a regular basis, usually from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
During the week of Aug. 3, NCMEC estimated that 105 children were enticed online for sexual acts.
“The amazing part is how many of them (predators) are out there,” McCravey said. “It’s very scary.”
Somervell County is not willing to release information on how they perform their online investigations, but were willing to provide advice for parents.
“The number one thing parents can do is make sure they have that computer out in a place where they can see it,” McCravey said. “Monitor the use of that computer.”