A Mableton man has been charged along with three others in a child sex sting led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, authorities claim.
Rolando Hernandes, Mark Hanna, James Daniel Stinchcomb, and William Sage were arrested separately on charges of attempting to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity, according to a news release Thursday from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Hernandes, 30, of Mableton, was arraigned Dec. 5, the department said.
Hanna, 29, of Anaheim, California, was arraigned Dec. 10, while Stinchcomb, 34, of Bethlehem, Georgia, will be arraigned later this month, the news release stated, adding that Sage, 32, of Sandy Springs, will be arraigned on Dec. 18.
U.S. Attorney Byung Pak said federal and local law enforcement identified individuals targeting minors online for unlawful sex acts during the Thanksgiving holiday.
“Those who attempt to prey on children should know that they face arrest and jail when they seek to exploit the youngest members of our community,” Pak said.
Records in the case show undercover FBI agents communicated online with several men between Nov. 19 and Dec. 6, targeting adults seeking minors for sex.
This resulted in the arrests of Hernandes, Hanna, Stinchcomb and Sage, the justice department said.
On Nov. 19, Hernandes began communicating online with an undercover agent, believing he was talking to a 10-year-old girl, police said.
Hernandes told the girl over the next eight days what he wanted to do with her, agents claim.
When he traveled to Smyrna on Nov. 27 thinking he’d meet the girl, Cobb and FBI officers were waiting to arrest him, the justice department said.
The same thing happened to Sage, who thought he was communicating with an 11-year-old girl and traveled to Norcross in Gwinnett County on Nov. 25 to meet her, not realizing he had been set up, agents said.
Hanna’s arrest was much the same, according to the news release. He’d been chatting online with an undercover agent posing as an 11-year-old girl, who Hanna traveled to Norcross to meet on Dec. 4, when he was arrested instead.
Stinchcomb, a Gwinnett County employee, was arrested on Dec. 6 in Norcross where he traveled in his county work vehicle to meet an undercover agent posing as an 11-year-old girl, police claim.
“The FBI will always be vigilant in pursuing those who choose to prey on our most vulnerable citizens, our children,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “I would like to thank our law enforcement partners and their task force officers as part of the FBI’s Metro Atlanta Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking (MATCH) task force for their commitment to making these arrests.”
The cases are part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse, led by the United States Attorney’s Offices around the country.