Two Stanford men among eight arrested in juvenile sex sting

Published 3:32 pm Friday, November 3, 2017


DANVILLE — Two Stanford men are among eight arrested after they came to Danville to meet a juvenile to have sex and instead met deputies with the Boyle County Sheriff’s Department.

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Paul F. Hilpp, 28, of Lebanon; Joseph A. Brown, 49, of Danville; Michael S. Cruse, 46, of Columbus, Mississippi; Justin P. Jones, 40, of Stanford; Dequan L. Brown, 23, of Lebanon; Hubert D. Carter, 52, of Ennis, Texas; Shawn A. Williams, 39, of Springfield; and Mark A. Shelton, 33, of Stanford were all arrested in the sting.

The men have been charged with first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor (illegal sex act, victim under 18 years old); and prohibited use of an electronic communication system to procure sex from a minor.

Sheriff Derek Robbins said deputies in his office set up the sting because they were contacted by parents who were concerned about an app, the name of which Robbins said he didn’t want to release, as it is an ongoing investigation.

“They were asking, ‘How do you know who your kid’s talking to?’” Robbins said. “(Deputies) just picked the ball up and ran with it because they heard the concerns.”

Deputies created a profile of a juvenile on the app and people began contacting them.

“We created the profile and almost immediately people began contacting us,” he said. “They were adults and didn’t hide the fact that they were adults … Even through all of the conversations it was made clear that the (profile) was a juvenile.”

The men arranged meets with deputies through the app, expecting to meet a juvenile.

According to arrest citations obtained from the Boyle County District Clerk’s Office, the arrests were made at various businesses and a residence in Danville:

• Hilpp was arrested at 11:37 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the Bunny Davis Center. The citation states he was anticipating meeting a 16-year-old male, whom he planned to pick up in his “red 1999 Chevy truck to drive to a discreet location.” Hilpp has been released on a $15,000 bond.

• Joseph Brown was arrested at 4:21 p.m. on Oct. 25 at a residence on Rolling Hills. The citation states he was anticipating meeting a 16-year-old. Once deputies arrived, Brown attempted to run toward the residence. He was taken down, but continued to resist. Brown also kicked out the windows and tried to escape out of an opened door in a cruiser. He faces additional charges of resisting arrest and third-degree attempted escape. Brown remains lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center.

• Cruse was arrested at 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 28 outside Danville Cinemas 8. According to the citation, he was anticipating meeting a 16-year-old male to “engage in sexual contact.” He has bonded out of jail.

• Jones was also arrested at 1:45 p.m. on Oct. 28 outside Danville Cinemas 8. The citation states that he believed he was meeting with a 16-year-old male, to “engage in sexual contact/intercourse.” He remains lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center.

• Dequan Brown was arrested at 6:50 p.m. on Oct. 28 outside Danville Cinemas 8. The citation states that he believed he was meeting with a 16-year-old, to “engage in oral and anal sex.” He remains lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center.

• Carter was arrested at 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 28 at the Comfort Inn and Suites in Danville. The citation sates that he believed he was meeting a 16-year-old, and “drove over an hour to purchase a motel room to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor.” He remains lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center.

• Williams was arrested Oct. 30 at Walmart. The citation states that he believed he was meeting a 16-year-old male. Williams is a registered sex offender, previously charged with two counts of child molestation in Indiana, according to the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry. The citation states that his previous conviction was for crimes against an 11-year-old boy, and that Williams said he is HIV-positive. He remains lodged in the Boyle County Detention Center.

• Shelton was arrested on Oct. 31 in the parking lot at Check Advance. According to the citation, he believed he was meeting a 16-year-old male, and was going to “perform oral sex on the 16-year-old at Millennium Park.”

“You try to think of the worse crimes committed in a small town — crimes against children are about as bad as it gets, in my book,” Robbins said.

He said there were individuals who advised the deputy to get off the app when he stated he was a juvenile.

“We had several people that said, ‘I can’t talk to you. It’s not safe to be on here doing this, you’re a juvenile.’ And they blocked us, which is what we want,” Robbins said.

He said that proved that some people were using the sites to find adult companionship.

He said it’s important for parents to pay attention to what their children are doing on their phones’ apps.

“There are so many avenues for a predator to take advantage of kids. I would encourage parents to know what apps and sites their children are on,” Robbins said. “I would encourage kids: It may seem fun, but you’ve got to use some common sense and be careful. There’s predators that will take advantage of you.

“We’ve been contacted by a ton more people than we’ve charged,” he added. “… More people are going to get caught up in this. The investigation’s not over.”

Robbins said his agency was “fortunate” to have deputies able to do these kinds of investigations.

“A lot of small agencies don’t have the ability to conduct some these investigations. We’re fortunate we’ve got a group of experienced guys. They’re proactive in going out and looking for predators and drug dealers,” he said. “If we had more manpower, there’s no telling what we could do.”

Robbins believes some of the men were caught here because they felt “comfortable” coming to a small town like Danville.

“I’ve talked to the authorities (in Mississippi) and (Cruse) has been on their radar for a long time,” Robbins said. “I think he felt comfortable coming up here, to a small town.”

He said there was a man so determined to meet the “juvenile” and so believing it was an untapped market that he drove past the deputies’ cars to wait.

Robbins said they plan to continue with the investigation and had a word of warning for those looking for juveniles on dating apps.

“Now, these people that are trolling these sites, around here you may be talking to us,” Robbins said. “I’d be careful who I troll on the internet — it could be us.”