(March 27, 2015) Sex crime suspects rounded up as part of Operation Worcester Safety Net, a yearlong investigation by the Worcester County Sherriff’s Office will begin filtering into court this month.
The operation began in December 2013 under the auspices of the Worcester County Commissioners signing a deal with the Maryland State Police. The results and indeed the existence of Operation Worcester Safety Net were revealed on Jan. 22.
The arrangement made the sheriff’s office an affiliate of the federally managed Internet Crimes Against Children task force and part of a national network of local law enforcement agencies dedicated to catching sexual crimes committed by internet users.
ICAC task forces follow up on leads from various local law enforcement agencies as well as tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tips are gathered using various social media websites, Internet Service Providers, cell phone companies and specialized apps.
In addition, investigations into file-sharing websites and other popular websites such as Craigslist are viewed or posted to by police to find pedophiles attempting to entice a child into a sexual encounter.
Assisting in the investigations were the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation, the Maryland State Police, the Wicomico County Child Advocacy Center and Homeland Security RAC Ocean City.
The following suspects will be in court soon or have been in court recently:
David Weatherholtz, 55, of West Ocean City was arrested on Dec. 16 on multiple charges including solicitation of a minor, sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault, perverted practice, sex offense in the fourth degree, sodomy and false imprisonment. Criminal motions are set for April 13, and a jury trial is set for May 12.
Daniel Kerstetter, 55, of Berlin is facing seven counts of child pornography distribution and 22 counts of possession Criminal motions are set for April 8 and a jury trial is scheduled for May 6.
Scott Woodgeard, 35, of Parsonsburg is charged with 18 counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution. Criminal motions will be heard on April 17 and a jury trial is scheduled for May 18 in Wicomico County.
David Andrews, 51, of Salisbury, a registered sex offender, was arrested in July. Prosecutors have reopened a previous indictment on similar charges, nolle prosequi at the time, in Wicomico County while the more recent charges have been nolle prosequi. He is scheduled for a violation of probation hearing on May 29.
James Moore, 41, of Cambridge was arrested on Halloween after meeting with a police office who had pretended online to be a 13-year-old girl. He is charged with solicitation of a minor. Criminal motions will be held on March 31 and a jury trial is scheduled for April 6.
Brandon Ehrisman, 27, of Salisbury was arrested on Nov. 6 for solicitation of sex with a minor. Criminal motions are scheduled for April 1 and a jury trial is set for May 4.
Richard Peters, 39, of Virginia was arrested on Nov. 25 for soliciting sex with a minor. Criminal motions are set for April 2 with a jury trial scheduled for May 5.
Quinton Bell, 50, of Virginia was taken into custody on Dec. 1 on charges of soliciting sex with a minor. Criminal motions are set for April 2 and a jury trial is scheduled for May 5.
Frank Buccini, 21, of Salisbury was arrested on Dec. 10 for solicitation of sex with a minor. Criminal motions are scheduled for April 8, and a jury trial is scheduled for May 6.
Miguel Valderas, 23, of Quantico, Md. was arrested on Dec. 12 for solicitation of sex with a minor and is scheduled for a hearing on April 7.
John McGee, 25, of Laurel, Del. was arrested on Oct. 17, 2014 for solicitation of a minor. He reached a plea deal on March 10 and is scheduled for sentencing on April 17.
Pedro Cedillo, 23, of Eden, was arrested Nov. 3 for solicitation of sex with a minor. As part of a plea deal reached in February, he will serve six months in jail with another three years of supervised probation after that and pay a $500 fine.
Bruce Deforest, 70, of Millsboro, Del. was arrested on Oct. 1, 2014 when he arrived to pick up what he believed was 13-year-old girl. Deforest was charged with solicitation of a minor and was found guilty on March 2. Deforest reached a plea deal where he was fined $500, is to serve three months in jail and be subject to three years of supervised probation