Sacramento three-day undercover child sex crime operation lands 24 arrests, including a San Jose fire captain

SACRAMENTO, CA - A three-day undercover child sex crime operation resulted in 24 arrests including a San Jose Fire Department captain. The three-day sting operation dubbed, "Operation Spring Cleaning," was conducted from March 29th through March 31st. 

According to ABC7, Sheriff Jim Cooper with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office (SCSO) said that undercover detectives posed as children 13-years-old and younger on various social media platforms. He said, "Suspects often directed these kids to commit sexual acts and/or ask for pornographic material." 

The 24 arrests included many people who were working in public positions with access to children. Sheriff Cooper said that they, "Arrested a San Jose firefighter who lives here in Sacramento, a Sunday school teacher, and a United States Postal service worker." 

Court documents show that the Sacramento District Attorney's Office is charging San Jose Fire Captain Spencer Parker, 43, with three felonies. He is charged with attempting lewd acts with a 13-year-old girl. At the time of his arrest, he was employed by the fire department.

However, a San Jose city spokesperson said that Parker's last shift was March 31st. He was put on leave on April 11th and resigned the next day. Parker began working for the fire department back in 2008.

San Jose Fire Chief Robert Sapien, Jr., said in a statement, "The safety of the community is our first priority. I want to assure the public that the Fire Captain is no longer employed with the San Jose Fire Department and had not been on duty since his last shift on March 31, 2024. No criminal activity is tolerable in our service and the types of crimes described by the charges are beyond a betrayal of public trust and are particularly reprehensible when committed by someone sworn to public service."

The fire chief added, "We are cooperating fully with law enforcement criminal investigators, and are prepared to initiate an internal investigation, the scope of which will be defined as information is obtained. The City seeks to maintain transparency and will provide information as soon as legally possible and once doing so would not compromise an active investigation."

According to NBC Bay Area, San Jose Mayor Matt Mahan said in a statement, "The crimes that are alleged here are absolutely disgusting." And while the Sacramento investigation might be over, San Jose police plan to conduct their own criminal investigation into Parker. Mahan said, "We've asked the police department to initiate an investigation into all of his actions, communication, whatever we can learn about his behavior within the department to make sure we know if anything else he's done."

During the press conference on Monday, April 22nd, Sheriff Cooper emphasized that the men arrested during the sting operation do not fit a particular profile and that they ranged in age from 20 to 70 years old. He said, "The guy in the walker, there's no one model for somebody involved in this. I can't stress enough to parents do your job. You're the parents, it's not negotiable on phones, on social media platforms know what your kids are doing."

Sheriff's Sergeant Eric Steindorf, assistant commander of the Internet Crimes Against Children team, said that 21 law enforcement agencies assisted in the investigation. He said, "One individual just to reiterate just how dangerous some of these people are, thought that he was going to meet with a 10-year-old for sexual purposes."

Legal analyst and former prosecutor Steven Clark said that these types of investigations are designed to prevent sexual assaults. He said, "So, I think that's the takeaway. That, that's why we're doing this. Not to entrap people, but to prevent certain people from committing a crime against a child."

He added, "It's important that San Jose PD gets to the bottom of this to see if there is anything else going on or whether this is limited to just one individual."
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