The Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced they arrested “108 people during a six-day human trafficking campaign” titled Operation March Sadness 2. Among those arrested were multiple employees of The Walt Disney Company and/or their subsidiaries.
A press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office detailed the the campaign saw detectives identify “prostitutes who posted online advertisements as well as the “johns” who were seeking out the prostitutes via online communications, with the intent to identify and free any victims who were being forced into prostitution (human trafficking), or anyone participating in the trafficking of victims.”
It also states, “Detectives also identified and investigated adults who engaged in on-line sexually charged communications with those they believed were children—four men were arrested for preying on children online.”
Sheriff Grady Judd said, “The arrests of a human trafficker and four child predators alone makes this whole operation worthwhile. The on-line prostitution industry enables traffickers and victimizes those who are being trafficked. Our goal is to identify victims, offer them help, and find and arrest those who are profiting from the exploitation of human beings. Johns fuel the trafficking and victimization. Where there is prostitution, there is exploitation, disease, dysfunction, and broken families.”
In a press conference, the Sheriff also went over some of the individuals they arrested.
One of the individuals was Xavier Jackson, 27. Judd says, “He thought he was chatting with a 14 year old. And he sent photos of himself doing things that’s totally inappropriate. He did not travel. So once again the Orange County Sheriff’s Office assisted us and because he’s from Orlando and traveled to arrest him where he was charged with three counts of harmful material and one count of unlawful communication.”
He then added, “Oh, did I mention that he just happens to be a lifeguard at the Polynesian resort for Disney. You think there’s a few children around there?”
“That’s right. I didn’t stutter. He was a lifeguard at The Polynesian Resort for Disney and was bragging about that,” Sheriff Judd stated.
Next, Judd would detail a number of other Disney employees arrested during the operation.
He said, “These guys weren’t predators, but they all have something in common with the last arrest [Xavier Jackson], they work for Disney. So you have Wilkason Fidele. He’s 24. He lives in Orlando. He thought he was coming for sex. He’s been a Disney employee for four years and he works at the Cosmic Restaurant in Tomorrowland. Except, now he is in the county jail if he hasn’t made bond yet.”
“Then there’s Shubham Malave, he’s 27. He’s a software developer for Disney. He’s worried because he’s here on a work visa from India. He thought he was coming to have sex with two ladies. Surprise, once again, undercover detectives,” the Sheriff explained.
Lastly, he said, “Then there’s Ralph Leese. He’s 45. He lives in Winter Garden. He’s an IT employee for Disney, been there about four years and he’s married.”
“So, I’m sure Disney’s not pleased. I bet his wife’s not pleased, but we’re pleased that we arrested him,” he concluded.
According to WESH2, a Disney representative informed them that all four of the employees were placed on unpaid leave.
These arrests come after Disney revealed they were publicly opposing an anti-grooming bill in the state of Florida that prevents instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation for students in kindergarten through third grade.