Florida Child Sex Sting Catches 22 Men, Including Methodist Pastor Who Volunteered at Schools and Children’s Missions


The men come from any number of backgrounds and range from young to old.

In the end, Pensacola police said, they were united by a common goal: having sex with minors.

During a five-day stretch that ended Sunday, all 22 of the men — including a pastor from a Florida church — were dragged down by “Operation Undertow,” an Internet sting in which undercover agents lured suspected child predators via computer to an undisclosed Florida location, police said.

The men were snagged after they responded to ads for sex with teenage males and females created by agents on “various websites,” police said. Once the men initiated conversations with investigators, police said, warrants were issued for their arrest.

When the suspects showed up at the designated location, they were taken into custody and charged with traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child.

Police called the effort “the largest multi-jurisdictional Internet sting” since the department arrested 25 men during a one-week-long sting in 2011.

“It is through the collaborating, partnering and building relationships that we protect our children and make the Internet a safer place,” Pensacola Police Chief David Alexander III said in a statement. “This effort of arresting and prosecuting these individuals helps to stop future abuse. This was five days of hard work for our officers, dispatchers, support personnel and personnel from other agencies, in addition to the planning of this operation.”

The men who showed up at the home brought with them drugs, sex toys and plans for illegal activity, police said. Four of the men arrested traveled from nearby Alabama, police said. The youngest suspect is 18 and the oldest — Alfred Foster of Mobile, Ala. — is 71.

Police said Calvin James Pearson, 31, and David Oloms, 24, both of Pensacola, arrived together to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to NBC affiliate WXIA.

When investigators searched Oloms’s vehicle, they found “a luggage bag full of various sex equipment, bondage and sadomasochistic equipment,” the station reported, citing arrest records.

Police said Bradly Davis Jones, 46, showed up at the residence with methamphetamine and a glass smoking pipe, WXIA reported.

“I’m the only one who could potentially do anything illegal, but I’m not ashamed of anything I do, and I’m willing to suffer any consequences I deserve,” he wrote to undercover investigators while he arranged his visit.

His alleged intention: To have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Also arrested was David Donald Hoppenjan, 52, who has served as senior pastor at the First United Methodist Church of Pace, just outside Pensacola, since last year.

Police said Hoppenjan traveled to two locations in an effort to have sex with a 14-year-old boy.

Hoppenjan spent nine years as executive pastor at Shalimar United Methodist Church in Florida, according to AL.com. He also served as the youth pastor at Wetumpka First United Methodist Church in Alabama, AL.com reported.

The pastor’s biography has been scrubbed from the church’s website, but screen shots of his profile reveal that Hoppenjan has five children, grew up in Wisconsin and has a degree in agriculture education with an emphasis on business.

“As a second-career pastor, I received my call to ministry in my mid-30s,” he said in his church bio. “At that time, we moved from Wetumpka, Ala., to Wilmore, Ky., where I graduated from Asbury Theological Seminary in May 2006. I have served as executive pastor at Shalimar UMC since January of 2006.

“Recently, I returned from Panajachel, Guatemala, where I worked with the ministry of Porch de’Salomon. … This trip reinforced my heart for missions and outreach and my desire to support the work of missions from outside our back door to all around the world. While in Shalimar, I was involved in YMCA, Covenant Hospice, Children in Crisis, Habitat for Humanity, as well as local schools as a parent, a volunteer and a church member helping out in any way possible.”

The Alabama-West Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church confirmed that Hoppenjan no longer works at First United Methodist Church.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Peter Holley