A 37-year-old Westerly man is among 13 residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts who are facing charges following a Rhode Island State Police investigation into child exploitation.
David King, of 32 Newton Ave., Westerly, was arrested this week and arraigned Wednesday in Fourth Division District Court on charges of indecent solicitation of a child and electronically disseminating indecent material to a minor. The police said that Muhammad Malik, 44, of East Greenwich, and Manna Mahuri, 41, of North Kingstown, were also charged with indecent solicitation of a child.
All three were released on a promise to appear with special bail conditions of limited internet use and no unsupervised contact with minors.
The Rhode Island Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation. The task force consists of state police officers and detectives from the Warwick, Cranston, Newport, East Providence, Pawtucket, Bristol, North Kingstown and Woonsocket police departments.
According to state police and court records, members of the task force used 16 social media applications and online classified ads between Jan. 24 and Jan. 26 to communicate with the suspects as part of "Operation Guardian," which was aimed at people seeking sexual communications or interactions with minors.
The sting operation led the men to believe they were communicating with juveniles ages 13 to 15. They were arrested after the police said they arranged to meet teenagers for sex acts at various locations.
Also charged were Jose Carrion, 41, of Attleboro, Mass.; Kevin Cooney, 27, Bellingham, Mass.; Tomy Fitton, 39, Pawtucket; Anthony Gomes, 31, Brockton, Mass.; Michael Johnson, 50, Templeton, Mass.; James Jolly, 41, Middleborough, Mass.; Paul Kimata, 41, Brockton, Mass.; Yuhua Kong, 29, Providence; Stephen Lomastro, 57, Warwick; and Emmett Manna, 37, Providence.