13 arrested in online child sex bust

FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas – The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office arrested 13 men as part of its Internet Crimes Against Children operation.

Among those arrested were a high school football coach an officer in the Army National Guard, a man already out on bond for an alleged sexual assault in Harris County last May, and a Rosenberg father who left two small children at home to allegedly rendevous with a teenage girl for sex.

"This is horrible, what you're seeing with some of these individuals, and what they're attempting to do," Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said.

The suspects were swept up in a sting operation conducted by Fort Bend Sheriff's Department and members of the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. Officers poised as 14- and 15-year-old girls on the Internet and arranged for the men to meet them. When the suspects showed up, they were arrested.

"We use social media sites, we use Internet websites and applications. Anywhere kids can go and adults can go," Sgt. Jared Nethery with Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said.

One of the suspects, Christopher Nunes, 32, is a special education teacher and assistant 9th grade football coach at MacArthur High School Nunes is now charged with online solicitation of a minor, and attempted sexual assault of a child. He's been placed on administrative leave by the Aldine Independent School District. School police are now also investigating.

Investigators said Lee Philip Traver, 34, of Rosenberg, told deputies he left his children, 2 and 4 years old, at home alone to make the meeting. After his arrest, deputies found the children at Traver's house. Child Protective Services is now investigating and has placed the children in the custody of their mother. Traver is also charged with two counts of endangering a child along with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

"Can you imagine leaving a 2- and a 4-year-old home alone to knock on a door assuming you're going to meet a 14- or 15-year-old girl? That's a problem," Nehls said.

A former National Guard officer, John Crawford of Katy also faces charges of online solicitation of a minor, and attempted sexual assault of a child, as does Nathaniel Montes, 35. Montes was free awaiting trial after posting $30,000 bond after being charged with sexual assault of a child in Harris County last May.

Police said five of the 13 men arrested are on suicide watch, including 18-year-old college student Carlton Crosby of Richmond. According to one of Crosby's relatives, he was home from college on Thanksgiving break surfing the Internet. He got on Craigslist and thought he was talking to a 14-year-old, the relative said.

"If you have an 18-year-old out there looking to have a date with a freshman in high school, I think we have a problem," Nehls said. "The law is very clear."

Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 20, 13 arrests, 28 felony charges, one misdemeanor charge and eight search warrants were executed by ICAC task force agents during the operation.

The first arrest was made Nov. 5 before the operation began. Eric Burgess, 50, was the first to be charged with attempted sexual assault of a child. Burgess is the only suspect to post bond.

Those arrested were:
•    Talha Riaz 23, of Tomball, who is from Pakistan and in the U.S. on a student visa, is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Carlton Crosby, 18, of Richmond is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted aggravated assault of a child.

•    Richard Weekley, 33, of Jersey Village is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Kenneth Gibson, 50, of Spring is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Nathaniel Montes, 35, of Houston, who was free on $30,000 bond in Harris County for charges in May of sexual assault of a child, is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Christopher Nunes, 32, is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child. According to deputies, officers arranged a meeting with him at a park, where Nunes was arrested and later charged.

•    Lee Phillip Traver, 34, of Rosenberg, is charged with online solicitation of a minor, attempted sexual assault of a child and two counts of endangering a chilld.

•    Jesus Garcia, 29, of Houston is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Jesus Soto, 24, of Fulshear is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    Garry Bellany, 26, of Pasadena is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

•    John Crawford, of Katy, is charged with online solicitation of a minor and attempted sexual assault of a child.

Bonds are set between $100,000 and $150,000.

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Talha Riaz