The Clay County Sheriff’s Office, in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City, has arrested six men for child sexual exploitation as part of Operation Blue Ghost.
“This operation showed what we already knew: child predators are looking for your kids online,” Sheriff Will Akin said. “We will do everything we can to keep children safe, and we encourage parents to monitor their kids’ social media use closely.”
From May 31 to June 2, six men traveled to Clay County from as far as Springfield, Mo., to engage in illicit sexual conduct with what they believed to be a 14-year-old girl they met through social media. The social media profiles were, in fact, managed by members of the Sheriff’s Office’s Investigations Division. Several of the men shared explicit photos prior to arranging a meeting with the purported 14-year-old. When the suspects arrived at various meet-up locations set up throughout the county, patrol deputies arrested them.
One man hit a patrol deputy and fled during the attempted arrest. When deputies moved in to make a child enticement arrest the night of June 2, Robert B. Koester, 32, of Springfield, Mo., backed into a deputy, pinning the deputy between two vehicles and causing minor injuries to his knee. Koester also struck multiple patrol vehicles and a mailbox before fleeing. Deputies pursued him until he crashed and struck a light pole on 210 Highway near Interstate 435. Deputies were able to take him into custody after a struggle. He was evaluated at a nearby hospital and determined not to have any substantial injuries from the crash.
Koester has been charged with enticement of a child, 1st degree assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, resisting arrest by fleeing and drug possession. He remains in custody in the Clay County Detention Center.
The following also were arrested and charged in the course of the operation:
A sixth man crossed state lines from Kansas to meet with the purported 14-year-old girl during the course of the operation, and HSI Kansas City is handling his case at the federal level.
The Clay County portion of Operation Blue Ghost worked out of the Sheriff’s Office and was staffed by members of the Investigations Division.
Prior to Operation Blue Ghost, the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division conducted a smaller sting operation in March, which led to the following man being arrested and charged:
Russell P. McGinnis, 43, of Independence, Mo. – charged with enticement of a child and furnishing pornographic material to a minor