Keeping Kids Safe

Task force sex sting catches accused pedophile trying to lure kids

Mahoning County Sheriff's Operation Ped-o-cure nets another arrest

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) - A Lisbon man is behind bars after investigators say he tried picking up what he thought was a young boy online. Instead, it was investigators involved in a sex sting operation.

Operation Ped-o-cure nets another arrest. It's all part of a continuing effort from the Mahoning County Sheriff's Human Trafficking Task Force to target suspected pedophiles trying to prey on children over the internet for sex.

"There's just people out, continuously, on the internet, looking to exploit or take advantage of our children and we can't have that," said Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene.

Franklin Thorne was arrested Tuesday afternoon. Investigators say he thought he was meeting a 12-year-old boy for sex but instead, was met by an undercover officer.

Task force members started investigating Thorne a couple of months ago through several online conversations. Greene wouldn't name the specific website that was used.

"It's just another one of the popular sites that you and I commonly know on the internet," he said.

In this technological age where the internet offers a constant form of communication, Greene reminds parents and kids that you don't always know who you're chatting with.

"If the person is a criminal or trying to do something of dishonest intentions, the person is cloaked in anonymity. You're not really sure who you're talking to."

Though Thorne is now behind bars, the task of getting these suspected criminals off the streets only continues.

"We're not letting this go," Greene said.

Thorne is facing several charges, including attempted rape and child endangering. He's in the Mahoning County Jail on a $150,000 bond.


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