Valdosta State dean among 14 charged with child sex trafficking, university responds

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By: Edan Schultz | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 10, 2020

Top (Left to Right): Jeffery Hogan, Rene Phillips, Justin Warren, Bronson Tripp, Dave Vincent, John Henry, Wilford Sermons; Bottom (Left to Right): Walter Curry, Josue Trejo, Keith Morrison, Billy Carter, Eugene Mainah, Eric Copeland, Keith Walters

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WCTV) -- Georgia authorities have arrested 14 Lowndes County men who are accused of communicating with children online and then traveling to meet them for sex.

Among those charged is Keith Walters, dean of the College of Science & Mathematics at Valdosta State University.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says the arrests are the result of a four-day undercover investigation planned for months and coordinated between nearly 20 agencies.

GBI says all of the suspects, ranging from 24 to 57 years old, traveled from areas around South Georgia with the intent to meet children for sex.

While the suspects believed they were communicating with a minor online, they were in fact talking to undercover investigators.

In some cases, investigators say, the suspects also sent obscene or lewd content, or requested pornographic images from the undercover investigators posing as children.

About half of the exchanges involved websites used for dating, socializing, or even ones used for classified advertisements.

Valdosta State sent the following statement to WCTV:

Valdosta State University has placed Keith Walters on immediate administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and law enforcement investigations into these very disturbing allegations. VSU remains committed to assisting law enforcement’s investigation in any way.

The following people were arrested and charged in Lowndes County as part of “Operation Broken Arrow”:

1. Dave Vincent Almon, W/M, 43, retail manager
2. Billy Stephen Carter, W/M, 57, truck driver
3. Eric Bernard Copeland, B/M, press operator
4. Walter Lee Curry, B/M, 33, laborer
5. Jamian Hogan, B/M, 34, retail associate
6. John Henry Hursey, W/M, 45, carpenter
7. Eugene Andega Mainah, B/M, 35, unemployed
8. Keith Morrison, B/M, 43, truck driver
9. Wyman Rene Phillips, W/M, 36, electrician
10. Wilford Sermons, B/M, 28, customer service representative
11. Josue Trejo, H/M, 31, forklift driver
12. Bronson Jamari D. Tripp, B/M, 24, retail associate
13. Keith Walters, W/M, 44, university Dean
14. Justin Na’eem Warren, B/M, 24, student

The suspects are charged with violating the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act and/or
Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude.

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