On 01/27/03, The Polk County Sheriff's Office received information from the Clearwater Police Department regarding a Polk County resident that may have been involved in the exploitation of children via the Internet. Detective Charlie Gates of the Computer Crimes Unit identified the subject as George Sulfridge, DOB 9/18/63, of 2410 Christy Lane in Lakeland, and began an investigation regarding the allegations.
During the course of four months, it was discovered that Mr. Sulfridge was soliciting a child, which was actually Det. Gates posing as a 12-year-old girl, for sex via the Internet. On June 6, 2003, Sulfridge arranged a meeting with the “child” at Lake Conine Park. That day the Computer Crimes Unit made contact with Sulfridge at Lake Conine Park. Sulfridge admitted to engaging in conversations regarding sexual conduct to a child via the Internet and that he was at the park to meet with her. Sulfridge alsoadmitted to having child pornography on his home computer.
Detective Gates and Detective Sandy Scherer responded with Mr. Sulfridge to his home and recovered two computers. Sulfridge was arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail without incident, and was charged with 4 counts of Soliciting a Child for Sex via the Internet ($1000 bond) and 1 count Attempted Lewd Battery ($5000 bond). Sulfridge posted bail on Saturday, June 7, 2003.
|Distribution: Undersheriff, Division Commanders, Communications, News Media|
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