Alleged predators attempted to solicit children
By JUSTIN WIER
An investigation Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene said lasted months resulted in the arrests of 10 men this week who face charges for attempting to solicit sex from minors.
The Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force conducted “Operation Pedo-Cure,” which involved nine agencies in cooperation with the sheriff’s office and targeted sexual predators who are active on the internet.
From Sunday through Tuesday, officers arrested the 10 men when they arrived at meetings set up by officers they believed to be boys and girls from ages 12 to 15.
“It was a huge eye-opener, especially if you have kids,” Greene said. “The scary part is the amount of chatter our investigators saw online and weren’t able to close the deal on.”
These men all face charges of importuning and possession of criminal tools – Jason Krzyzewski, 41, of Sharon, Pa.; Michael Bowman, 39, of Canton; Kyle Malice, 24, of Boardman; Matthew Lee, 33, of Warren; Andrew Pitts, 36, of Liberty; Tyler Kachelries, 25, of Youngstown; Terrance Hymes, 28, of Youngstown; James Smith, 51, of Akron; Dallas Runner, 38, of Niles; and Keith Cramer, 19, of Niles.
All but Cramer also face a charge of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and Krzyzewski, Lee, Pitts and Runner face charges of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile.
Officers charged Kachelries with corrupting another with drugs because he wanted the 14-year-old girl to try marijuana and brought it with him to the meeting, officers said.
Bowman appears on a list of registered sex offenders for previous convictions of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile and possession of child pornography.
Hymes was previously convicted of misdemeanor sexual imposition and is on parole for a 2016 aggravated burglary conviction.
Pitts is on probation for telecommunications fraud and theft convictions.
“They go online and they build trust,” said Maj. Jeff Allen. “It’s not just websites. It’s children on social media.”
He said those who contacted officers but did not meet may face charges in the future.
Greene added the operation was among the most successful they’ve done.
“This is viewed by all agencies as a great success,” Greene said. “It took an inordinate amount of time and effort.”
The sheriff’s office collaborated with the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s office, Austintown Police Department, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Investigative Unit, Adult Parole Authority, Warren City Police Department and the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Greene warned potential future sexual predators he isn’t going away.
“If you’re a predator out there talking to someone on the internet, you might be talking to a police officer,” Greene advised.