With the aid of the volunteer watchdog group Perverted Justice, the office of Attorney General Greg Stumbo set up an Internet trap aimed at identifying sexual predators. Six men from Kentucky and one from Indiana walked right into it. If the seven — including a 24-year-old teacher from Fleming County — are guilty as charged, they are sexual perverts who prey on children. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Stumbo’s office set up an Internet sting operation in which volunteers for Perverted Justice pretended to be 12- and 13-year-old girls. To avoid claims of entrapment, Stumbo says Perverted Justice volunteers never initiated the online chats and the child’s age was clearly revealed in the first few lines of each chat. Each of the seven men arranged to meet the child in Louisville, but when they arrived, they were greeted by police instead of the young girl they were expecting.

Substitute teacher Steven D. Dunvit of Flemingsburg is among the seven arrested. While he must be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, the nature of the charges against him demand that he be immediately barred from any contact with children.

The seven arrested men range in age from 23 to 48 and come from a diverse background, Stumbo said. One Louisville man drove his Mercedes sports car to pick up what he believed was a 13-year-old girl and another was a 44-year-old Lexington man with children of his own about the age of the girl he thought he was going to meet for sex.

Stumbo said the diversity of the seven is evidence that this is a crime in which the perpetrators come from all walks of life. The attorney general said he also hopes the sting operation sends a message to children.

“We hope to make the children aware that the ‘nice’ older stranger they chat with sees them only as prey,” Stumbo said. “He is ready and willing to leave them with emotional and possibly physical scars for life .. or worse, kidnap or kill them.”

Perverted Justice has worked with Dateline NBC in its “To Catch a Predator Series” and now it has worked with the top law enforcement officer in Kentucky. The goal is clear and commendable: To put sexual predators out of action and, preferably, behind bars.

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