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Tallahassee PD

"Denzel Washington" is among nearly 200 defendants arrested in a human sex trafficking sting involving a single Florida girl.

Although Washington is not the legendary actor, it isn't clear if the defendant is related to Denzel.

The operation, called "Stolen Innocence," began in 2018 and wrapped on Tuesday with nearly 200 arrests, the NY Post reported.

The girl was 13 and 14 years old at the time of the assaults, but investigators believe she was younger than 13 when the assaults began.

Among the suspects are a high-profile Florida State University booster, a middle school physical education teacher, a lobbyist, and a former candidate for local office, according to the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper.

They were all charged with human trafficking of a minor, and 106 people were hit with felony charges. 18 are being charged federally, according to the Post.

Several women were also arrested and charged with arranging "play" dates with the girl in exchange for money, according to the Post.

Some of the defendants say their encounters with the girl occurred in a filthy apartment and various hotels and motels around Tallahassee.

They say the girl's mother wouldn't allow them to have sex with the child unless they brought her drugs and money.

It isn't clear if the girl’s mother was charged or was part of the sex trafficking ring.

The teen was rescued by the police department's Special Victims Unit. She is in the custody of the state and "on the road to recovery."
 

Mary Clavering/Getty Images

Popular TikTok user Zoe Laverne, 19, has apologized for kissing a 13-year-old boy named Connor. She insists she is not part of the left's campaign to normalize pedophilia on social media.

Fans grew concerned about the nature of close Zoe's relationship with Connor - also a TikTok personality - after she split from her ex, Cody Orlove.

Cody later insisted he left Zoe "because of her interactions with Connor," which, "got very intense and it's something I do not stand by what so ever. It's pedophilia."

Days later, a video of Zoe and Connor kissing surfaced online, prompting Zoe to release a video apology in which she says she, "didn't groom Connor, I wouldn't do that".

"He's a kid and I'm aware of that. It just happened," says Zoe. "We both were in a dark place when we first became friends and we both just ended up catching feelings for each other. And friends do that, they catch feelings for each other. That's not a bad thing."

According to London's DailyMail.com, Connor, who uses the TikTok handle @cxnnorjoyce, addressed the controversy in his own posts to social media, insisting Zoe "did not rape" him.
 

 

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Netflix

A grand jury in Tyler County, Texas has indicted Netflix for "promotion of lewd visual material depicting a child" when it distributed the French film Cuties.

The controversial film sparked fierce backlash against streaming giant Netflix, with critics alleging it over-sexualizes children.

According to a press release, the District Attorney's Office claims that Netflix, by distributing Cuties, "knowingly promote[d] visual material that depicts the lewd exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of a clothed or partially clothed child, which appeals to the prurient interest in sex and has no serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."

A spokesperson for Netflix told PEOPLE in a statement on Wednesday: "Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children. This charge is without merit and we stand by the film."

The film tells the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris who joins a "free-spirited dance clique" to escape family dysfunction.

Netflix previously apologized for a promo poster of the child stars posing in their dancing outfits. After the film premiered on Netflix on 9 September, the backlash continued as the hashtag "#CancelNetflix" was the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. the following day.

A petition on Change.org was also launched, calling on Netflix customers to cancel their subscriptions over the flick on the streaming service "that exploits children and creates a disturbing vibe".

"From cuties to Big Mouth to other movies mocking religions and exploiting children Netflix is no longer the family friendly streaming service I once believed it to be," reads a message on the campaign.

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Spring Hill PD

An alleged pedophile secretly hid in an underage girl's closet for one month before he was discovered by the girl's parents.

Jonathan Rossmoine, 36, met the 15-year-old girl on social media and hid in a closet in her bedroom to avoid detection by her parents, according to Fox 13 News.

The girl reportedly told Rossmoine she was 18. When they met for the first time, the girl allegedly confessed that she was 18 years old. The suspect drove multiple times from his home in Louisiana to Florida to have sex with the girl in the family's Spring Hill home.

Rossmoine was discovered hiding in the girl's closet after her parents heard voices coming from the girl's bedroom.

He was arrested and charged with four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior, and one count of traveling across state lines to meet a minor for indecent purposes.

"He and the young lady came up with the idea that he could just stay in her room if he hid in the closet whenever the parents came in," Hernando County Sheriff's Office Detective Tom Cameron said.

"They kept the bedroom door closed and locked and whenever someone came to the door it gave them an opportunity to run and hide in the closet and open up the door to where maybe she was changing or something."

Authorities said Rossmoine admitted that he and the girl had sex a number of times in his van, which he had parked near her home, Crime Online reported.

Child experts advise parents to limit their child's access to smartphones and the internet.

"Kids can be doing things under our noses and in your house that you might not be aware of that could shock you," child psychologist Dr. Wendy Rice told Fox 13.

"Get the electronics out of the bedroom. That is key. None of us really need to be sleeping with our phones next to our beds and least of all teens."

Child advocacy groups are lobbying lawmakers to fine social media platforms that allow children to register accounts.

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Jon Cherry/Getty Images

A 26-year-old man is behind bars after kidnapping an 11-year-old girl he met on Instagram.com. In text messages, Keith Green told the girl to pack her bags without her name or initials on them.

According to Crime Online, he told her they would have to "lay low" for six or seven years until she was of legal age.

He also told her he was "risking his life to be with her," according to the police report.

The arrest report said Green intended to tell people the girl was his niece and that he gained custody of her after her parents died.

The text messages were deleted before police could read them, but the girl's mother told police she viewed the messages.

Green used Instagram to groom the girl, and the warrant said deputies used a photo posted to the girl's Instagram account to identify him.

The girl has been returned to her mother, according to WEAR TV.

Green will be extradited back to Orange County. He faces charges of kidnapping, interference with custody, and luring or enticing a child.

About 58% 0f children under age 16 have their own social media accounts, according to a recent study.

Parental advocacy groups are lobbying lawmakers to fine social media outlets that allow children to register accounts. Measures that social media outlets can take to restrict children on social media includes a button that users can press to alert them that a child has an account.

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Netflix

The FBI is asking parents in the Illinois area and beyond to check their sons's cell phones for evidence of communications with Netflix star Jerry Harris.

Harris, star of Netflix's cheerleading docuseries "Cheer," was arrested and charged with production of child p0rnography.

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CBS 2

Harris, 21, admitted to soliciting child p0rn from at least 10 children. He also confessed to having sex with a 15-year-old boy at a cheerleading event last year.

None those victims have come forward or contacted law enforcement about their communications with Harris.

The FBI launched an investigation after the mother of 14-year-old twin boys found explicit text messages from Harris on their phones.

The FBI has opened a portal for victims or parents of victims to identify themselves by completing a questionnaire.

The responses are voluntary but some of the information may be used in the investigation. All identities of victims will be kept confidential.

Victims may be eligible for certain services, financial restitution and rights under federal and/or state law.

The FBI website lists usernames that Harris used on Snapchat (jerry_714) and Instagram (@__jcoleofficial) to seduce unsuspecting boys.

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Getty Images

"Cheer" coach Monica Aldama broke her silence on the arrest of Jerry Harris on charges of child p0ornography. 21-year-old Harris was accused of sexually harassing twin boys, Charlie and Sam.

He was also sued for $1 million by the brothers who retained separate lawyers.

Harris was arrested this week and charged with one count of producing child pornography, according to Page Six.

He also admitted to receiving explicit photos and videos from at least 10-15 other minors, according to a complaint filed by the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

Aldama, who coached Harris on the Netflix cheerleading docuseries "Cheer," said, "My heart is shattered into a million pieces. I am devastated by this shocking, unexpected news."

She added, "Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I'm praying hard for the victims and everyone affected."

Aldama also asked that fans respect her privacy as her family "mourns during this heartbreaking time."

If convicted, Harris faces a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and maximum of 30 years.

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Getty Image, Mail Online

Jerry Harris, star of Netflix's cheerleading docuseries "Cheer," was arrested Thursday and charged with production of child p0rnography three days after FBI agents removed bags of evidence from his Naperville, Illinois home.

The 21-year-old male cheerleader was the subject of a federal investigation after the mom of 14-year-old twin boys, Charlie and Sam, found sexually explicit texts and alerted Varsity Brands, who, in turn, notified police.

The twins are suing Harris over sexual exploitation harassment that began when they were just 13. The brothers filed separate lawsuits against Harris this week, accusing the flamboyant star of harassing them at cheer competitions.

It was reported on Monday that the flamboyant cheerleader was under investigation amid allegations he "solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from a minor".

The criminal complaint alleges Harris requested nude photos from the boys.

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Snapchat

In one Snapchat exchange, Harris asked one of the twins, "Would you ever want to****." The boy interpreted the message as a sex act.

In another message, one of the boys sent Harris a photo of himself and Harris allegedly responded: "Do it naked and take a video."

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CBS 2

In court documents, the siblings, who are Caucasian, alleged they befriended Harris, who is Black, during a cheer competition in 2018, and were "star struck" by him.

Following steamy text messages from Harris requesting nude photos from the boys, they met up with Harris in "secluded locations at various competitions".

After their mother found out about the sexually explicit messages, she reported him to cheerleading organization Varsity Brands, who contacted police.

Harris, who was 19 at the time of the incidents, worked for Varsity at a cheer camp last year.

"As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future," wrote Varsity's Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart in letters to police in Florida and Texas.

Since Cheer premiered in January, Harris has covered the Oscars red carpet for Ellen DeGeneres, signed endorsement deals with Schmidt's deodorant, Panera Bread and American Eagle and racked up over a million followers on Instagram.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden held a chat with Harris weeks before investigators raided Harris's home.

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Harris was part of Biden's plan to help "win back the internet."

"If the same percentage of young blacks turned out and registered to vote as the average voter, you'd increase voting by several million people, you could change the outcome of elections," Biden told Harris.

During a recent episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast "The Big Ticket," Harris, who was referred to as a "gay icon," said his late mom was watching over him.

"I feel like she's very, very happy and excited for everything that's been going on, and she's really loving it," said Harris, whose mother died of lung cancer when he was 16. "I know she's telling me to always stay humble, because she doesn't want to see me get a big head."

Harris met his cheerleading inspiration, Gabrielle Union, last month.
 

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CBS 2

Jerry Harris, star of Netflix's cheerleading docuseries "Cheer," is facing more legal drama amid an FBI investigation into allegations he solicited sex from two minors.

Twin boys, Charlie and Sam, are suing Harris, 21, over sexual exploitation claims.

It was reported on Monday that the flamboyant cheerleader was under investigation amid reports he "solicited sexually explicit photos and sex from a minor".

After Harris' representative categorically disputed the allegations, it emerged on Tuesday that Harris is now being sued by 14-year-old twin brothers, who claimed they were sexually exploited by him when they were just 13 years old.

Jim Spellman/Getty Images

In court documents, the siblings, who are Caucasian, alleged they befriended Harris, who is Black, during a cheer competition in 2018, and were "star struck" by him.

Following a torrent of text messages from Harris requesting nude photos from the boys, they met up with Harris in "secluded locations at various competitions".

After their mother found out about the sexually explicit messages, she reported him to cheerleading organization Varsity Brands, who, in turn, reported him to the police.

Harris worked for Varsity at a cheer camp last year.

"As a result of the recent allegation, we have barred this person from having any affiliation with Varsity Brands or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, now and in the future," wrote Varsity's Chief Legal Officer Burton Brillhart in letters to police in Florida and Texas.

Since Cheer premiere in January, Harris has covered the Oscars red carpet for Ellen DeGeneres, signed endorsement deals with Schmidt's deodorant, Panera Bread and American Eagle and racked up over a million followers on Instagram.

Democratic nominee Joe Biden held a chat with Harris weeks before investigators raided Harris's Naperville, Illinois home.

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Harris was part of Biden's plan to help "win back the internet."

"If the same percentage of young blacks turned out and registered to vote as the average voter, you'd increase voting by several million people, you could change the outcome of elections," Biden told Harris.

During a recent episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast "The Big Ticket," Harris, who was referred to as a "gay icon," said his late mom was watching over him.

"I feel like she's very, very happy and excited for everything that's been going on, and she's really loving it," said Harris, whose mother died of lung cancer when he was 16. "I know she's telling me to always stay humble, because she doesn't want to see me get a big head."

Harris has not been criminally charged in the ongoing investigation.

Harris met his cheerleading inspiration, Gabrielle Union, last month.
 

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Netflix

Controversial French film Cuties has spawned more backlash against streaming giant Netflix, with critics alleging it over-sexualizes children.

The film tells the story of an 11-year-old Senegalese girl in Paris who joins a "free-spirited dance clique" to escape family dysfunction.

Despite the outrage, the movie earned praise when it debuted at January's Sundance Film Festival in Utah for how it addressed the hypersexualization of young girls.

Netflix previously apologized for a promo poster of the child stars posing in their dancing outfits. After the film premiered on Netflix on 9 September, the backlash continued as the hashtag "#CancelNetflix" was the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. the following day.

A petition on Change.org was also launched, calling on Netflix customers to cancel their subscriptions over the flick on the streaming service "that exploits children and creates a disturbing vibe".

"From cuties to Big Mouth to other movies mocking religions and exploiting children Netflix is no longer the family friendly streaming service I once believed it to be," reads a message on the campaign, which currently has over 600,000 signatures.

WENN/Avalon

Barack and Michelle Obama, who signed a multimillion dollar production deal with Netflix, have remained silent amid the controversy.

The backlash prompted Netflix officials to issue a statement, insisting the film, "Cuties is a social commentary against the sexualization of young children.

"It's an award-winning film and a powerful story about the pressure young girls face on social media and from society more generally growing up — and we'd encourage anyone who cares about these important issues to watch the movie," they told Variety of the Maimouna Doucoure-directed flick.

But critics complained about the many close up shots of the young girls' body parts, and one scene where a girl exposed her breasts on camera.