Youth pastor among 22 arrested in underage sex sting

India, September 17, 2016, Iran Herald

FLORIDA, U.S. – 22 men from different walks of life were arrested in an investigative operation on underage sex conducted by the U.S. Police.

The only thing they bore in common was the desire to have sex with minors.

The five-day Internet sting operation, titled “Operation Undertow,” ended with the arrests of the 22 men who were brought down by undercover agents who aimed to lure suspected child predators via a computer to an unnamed location in Florida, police revealed.

Officials further stated that all the men were caught after they responded to ads for having sex with teenage males and females posted by police agents on various websites.

Once conversation was initiated with the agents, the suspects were taken into custody and charged with traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child.

Police announced this effort “the largest multi-jurisdictional Internet sting” since the department arrested 25 men during a one-week-long sting in 2011.

“It is through the collaborating, partnering and building relationships that we protect our children and make the Internet a safer place,” Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander III said.

He added, “This effort of arresting and prosecuting these individuals helps to stop future abuse. This was five days of hard work for our officers, dispatchers, support personnel and personnel from other agencies, in addition to the planning of this operation.”

The men who showed up at the home had drugs, sex toys and plans for illegal activities at their disposal, according to the police. The youngest suspect is 18, while the oldest is 71.

Police officials further revealed that Calvin James Pearson, 31, and David Oloms, 24, both of Pensacola, arrived together to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Investigators found “a luggage bag full of various sex equipment, bondage and sadomasochistic equipment,” when investigators searched Oloms’s vehicle.

Police said Bradly Davis Jones, 46, showed up at the residence with methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe, WXIA reported.

“I’m the only one who could potentially do anything illegal, but I’m not ashamed of anything I do, and I’m willing to suffer any consequences I deserve,” he wrote to the undercover agents while arranging a meeting.

Probable intention – To have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

One man arrested amongst the group was David Donald Hoppenjan, 52, who has served as senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Pace, just outside Pensacola, since last year.

“As a second-career pastor, I received my call to ministry in my mid-30s. At that time, we moved from Wetumpka, Ala., to Wilmore, Ky., where I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in May 2006. I have served as executive pastor at Shalimar UMC since January of 2006.

“Recently, I returned from Panajachel, Guatemala, where I worked with the ministry of Porch de’Salomon. This trip reinforced my heart for missions and outreach and my desire to support the work of missions from outside our back door to all around the world. While in Shalimar, I was involved in YMCA, Covenant Hospice, Children in Crisis, Habitat for Humanity, as well as local schools as a parent, a volunteer and a church member helping out in any way possible,” his church bio reads.

The Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church announced that Hoppenjan will not retain his job at First United Methodist Church.

“As a church, we take any allegation of clergy misconduct very seriously. The United Methodist Church requires clergy to live by the highest ethical and moral standards. Conduct that violates these standards is a very serious matter and is not tolerated,” the Alabama-West Florida Conference wrote in a statement.