UPDATE | Man arrested in sex sting Operation Mayday will be sentenced later

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UPDATE: Wednesday, May 11, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- One of the men arrested in connection to a child sex sting was sentenced to jail time in court.

Nicholas Barber pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of attempt to commit child molestation.

Judge Brown accepted the plea and sentenced Barber to five years probation. Barber has to serve the first 15 months of the sentence in jail, but he will get credit for three months time served.

This comes nearly a year after the Richmond County Sheriff's Office, the GBi, and the Georgia Internet Crimes and Computer Crimes Unit arrested 22 people over four days in an undercover operation.



Friday, Feb. 26, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A man arrested in connection to the child sex sting was not sentenced today.

Court officials said Nicholas Hopkins' sentencing was delayed Friday. Hopkins was arrested along with 22 others in the Operation Mayday sting back in May. All are accused of trying to meet up with young teens for sex.


Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- According to court officials, three more suspects arrested in connection to the child sex sting Operation Mayday have been sentenced.

Matthew Tyndall was charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation and possession of marijuana. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison and 2 years of probation. Tyndall will also be required to register as a sex offender.

Ruben Reese and Reginald Grubbs were both found guilty of solicitation for sexual conduct with a child and criminal attempt to commit child molestation. Reese is sentenced to 16 years in prison and 14 years of probation. Grubbs is sentenced to 16 years in prison and 9 years of probation. Both will be required to register as a sex offender.



Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- A man arrested in connection to the child sex sting, Operation Mayday in 2015, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

According to the Richmond County Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Cody Bondurant was sentenced Jan. 6 to 10 years for the solicitation for sexual conduct with a child and the criminal attempt to commit. Bodurant is also required to pay a $500 fine on each count and register as a sex offender.



Monday, Sept. 28, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Court officials confirm one of 22 suspects charged in connection to a sex sting entered a guilty plea in court.

Travis Demond Driggers entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to ten years. He will spend seven in custody and three on probation.



Friday, August 21, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The 19 suspects in court Friday, involved in the under cover sex sting, plead not guilty, according to an Assistant District Attorney Attorney in court. In total, 22 suspects are charged in connection to the sex sting.

All 22 suspects are charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation. Additionally, 14 out of the 22 suspects are also charged with solicitation for sexual conduct With child. Both of these charges are felonies.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The last suspect involved in the undercover sex sting has been indicted.

Jordan Roberts is also charged with criminal attempt to commit child molestation.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) - The following 21 out of 22 suspects are indicted from the undercover sex sting operation:

Sears, Matthew Kyle
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Tyndall, Matthew Robert
1 16-4-1 Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
2 16-13-2 (B) Possession of Marijuana (M) M
8/11/2015 Indictment

Pobanz, Cody Justin
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Negus, Kyle Andrew
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Moxley Jr, Michael Thomas
Solicitation for Sexual Conduct With Child F
Solicitation for Sexual Conduct With Child F
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Myers, Heather Elyssa
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Holley, Leon Cornelius
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Driggers, Travis Demond
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

These remaining suspects all indicted on:

Solicitation for Sexual Conduct With Child F
Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation F
8/11/2015 Indictment

Waters, Jordan Andrew
Reese, Ruben Ellis
Selby, Ian
Titre, Christopher Anthony
Tyndall, Richard Dean
Lewis, Everett Ryan
Kitchens, Paul Ellis
Judkin, Tyler Alexander
Hopkins, Nicholas Michael
Grubbs, Reginald Martinez
Crowley, John Kenneth
Bondurant, Cody Allen
Barber, Nicholas Sebastian

Court officials say due to a mix up, suspect Jordan Roberts will be indicted August 21.



Friday, June 5, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) - Three more suspects of the 22 arrested in the undercover sting, Operation Mayday, were in court on Friday morning.

During the preliminary hearing all three were denied bond and all three cases will now be sent to a grand jury.

The following is a breakdown from those hearings for each case:

Nicholas Barber, Pool Attendant
Arrested for attempting to meet a 15-year-old who he met online at a specific location for sex. He was arrested when he arrived at that location.

Matthew Sears, Tire Store Employee
Investigators say Sears agreed to meet up with a 15-year old he met online for sex. He was taken into custody when he arrived at a pre-arranged location to meet the teenager.

Travis Driggers, (Former), Correctional Officer
Investigators say Diggers agreed to meet a woman's 15-year old daughter and teach her how to have sex. He was arrested when he showed up at home in Richmond County to have sex with the teenager.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- 12 of the 22 suspects from the child sex sting operation were in court Wednesday for preliminary hearings.

Craigslist advertisements and an online chat site were used by undercover agents to communicate with the suspects.

Investigators say the arrests were made at an undercover house that investigators lured them to once their conversations became sexual, at a randomized location like a fast food restaurant, or during a traffic stop.

The following is a breakdown from those hearings for each case:

Richard Tyndall, Electrician
Tyndall was denied bond in this preliminary hearing. He was the only person who received a bond hearing on Wednesday. Tyndall could face additional charges pending investigation into child pornography

Nicholas Hopkins, Landscaper
Hopkins bond was previously denied. No new information.

Matthew Tyndall, Restaurant Manager
Tyndall was indicted for attempting to trade marijuana for a sexual favor. Investigators say Tyndall understood that the person he was talking to was a minor. Tyndall was also found to unlawfully have two guns in his possession.

Everett Lewis, Laborer
Lewis acknowledged that the person he was chatting online with was a minor.

Kyle Negus, Software Programmer
Negus' mother argued that his hormone balance was off and that he had been diagnosed with that for more than a year. His mother tells News 12 she was advocating that he get medical care while in custody for that diagnosis. The court deferred his case until he could receive more medical information.

Ian Selby, Student
Investigators say he admitted what he did saying "No excuse, it was wrong."

Paul Kitchens, Funeral Home Director
The undercover agent told Kitchens that she was a 15 years old. Kitchens was told to come to the undercover house to meet with the teen. He circled the undercover house and left, but was later arrested at a traffic stop.

Jordan Roberrts, Airman
Investigators say Roberts initiated and knowingly contacted a 15 year old online. Roberts says he intended to come over and swim with her.

Ruben Reese, Deputy Jailer (former)
Investigators say Reese initiated contact with the undercover agent online. Reese reported that he did not believe she was 15, however during a phone conversation with the undercover agent Reese said "I'm 52, your 15, I could be put into jail for this"

Christopher Titre, Grocery Store Employee
Investigators say he admitted to knowing the person he was speaking to was 15 years old by saying "You're 15, and you can't even drive."

Cody Pobanz, Crane Technician
Investigators say he engaged in explicit conversations online. They also say he was told the person he was talking to was 15 years old.

Leon Holley, Retail Stocker
In a conversation online with an undercover agent, Holley said "It's fine for my age to have sex with you," and that he had "never had sex with a 15 year old." Holley was stopped at a traffic stop after circling the undercover house he was invited to.



Wednesday, May 27, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga (WRDW) --- 12 of the 22 suspects from a child sex sting operation last week are in a Richmond County courtroom today.

Five of the suspects have been in front of a judge for a preliminary hearing, a News 12 reporter in the courtroom says.

One of the suspects, Kyle Negus, has had his case deferred until the judge gets more information about his medical history. In the courtroom, investigators say other investigators were assigned to chat with the suspects. If the conversations turned sexual, the suspects were invited to a house and then taken into custody, a News 12 crew has learned.



Thursday, May 21, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- One of the suspects arrested in the online child sex sting operation has bonded out of jail.

Pharmacy Technician, Jordan Waters, is no longer in the Richmond County jail after being granted a $30,000 bond. There are conditions to his release; he is not allowed to use a phone, internet, or social networking and can not be outside of a four county region.

John Crowley was also granted a $30,000 bond after his original hearing was deferred for medical reasons.

Crowley is not allowed to have a cell phone or computer and has a curfew between 7p.m.-6a.m. at his mother's home. He is also not allowed to leave a four county area.

Additionally, Crowley is not allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 18.

In the hearing today is was also revealed that Crowley was previously arrested for domestic violence and arrested three times in Florida for grand theft, burglary, and disturbing the peace. Two of those were juvenile arrests.

News 12 is working to find out more about Crowley's injuries. His lawyer stated that he suffered from brain and spinal injuries during an accident. Crowley's mother says he suffers from short-term memory loss and has the brain of a child.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) --- News 12 has confirmed one of the suspects in the online child sex sting known as "Operation Mayday" used to coach girls soccer.

Ian Selby, 25, was a volunteer coach for the under age 11 girls soccer team last fall at the Marshall branch YMCA, the Y confirms.

As a coach, Selby was supposed to take a class on how to report suspected cases of abuse, a YMCA spokesperson confirms.


News 12 at 11 o'clock, Tuesday, May 19, 2015

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga (WRDW) -- Emotions ran high Tuesday as these 22 suspects faced a judge for their bond hearing. All facing charges of criminal attempt to commit child molestation. Out of those 22, 13 of them were denied bond, seven others did not have an attorney present, and two other cases were deferred.

John Crowley was deferred for medical reasons. Crowley's mother telling the judge "he is no risk to the community, he would never hurt a child."

As for Jordan Waters, Judge Danny Craig wants to look at the evidence against him. But Judge Craig wasn't so lenient for the others, saying he heard one too many parents say, "I don't know what's going on."

All the suspects, including those who did not have an attorney, remain behind bars, however.

"It's so obvious what's going on here," he said. "There's only one thing these 22 people have in common... it's called social networking."

And in Monday's news conference, even the GBI was warning parents.

"If you are going to allow your children to use the internet you have to monitor them and teach them and be very open about the risks that are out there because they are out there," GBI agent Debbie Garner said.

Something a lot of parents already watch out for.

"My boys don't really get onto a computer but they do have iPods and I take them after they go to bed and look through them to make sure they aren't going to places they shouldn't be," Katie Hollar said.

One of those suspects is now out of a job. The Columbia County Sheriff's Office fired 52 year old deputy jailer Ruben Reese. Investigators say he admitted to having sexual contact with someone under the age of thirteen back when he was 25 year old.

Judge Craig was very forceful in court, saying sexual predators prey on the weak and powerless. As for the six suspects that don't have an attorney, the judge said they can revisit the bond hearing once they do.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga (WRDW) - Bond hearings are being held today for the 22 arrested in a child sex sting.

20 of the 22 suspects have been denied bond so far, according to our reporter in the courtroom. A bond hearing will be held at another time for John Crowley because of medical reasons. Jordan Waters' bond hearing will also be heard later because the judge wants to see copies of his online chats. Six of the suspects could not afford attorneys and the judge will allow them to revisit their bond hearings once they get an attorney, our reporter confirms. Family and friends are in the courtroom as well, a News 12 reporter confirms.

The arrests were part of "Operation Mayday," an operation spanning months involving more than 19 agencies.

All suspects are charged with Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation.

One of the suspects, Ruben Reese, was terminated from his job as a deputy jailer at the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, the Sheriff's Office confirms.


Monday, May 18, 2015

RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW) -- 22 people were arrested this weekend, involved in a massive child sex sting.

It was part of "Operation Mayday" over the past four days. Those arrested, ranging in age from 19 to 52, allegedly traveled from areas around Augusta and from South Carolina with the intent to meet a child for sex.

Some of the arrested include an actor, funeral home director, tire salesman, electrician, software programmer, correctional officer, pharmacy tech, student and Deputy Jailer for the Columbia County Sheriff's Office. They are all charged with Criminal Attempt to Commit Child Molestation. Additional charges may be coming.

"Operation Mayday" was an undercover investigation coordinated by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit (CEACC), the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, and the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office,

Online child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose of having sex. The children these predators target are both boys and girls, typically fourteen to fifteen years old. In addition, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor, and the recruitment of victims of child sex trafficking.

The following were arrested and charged in Richmond County as part of “Operation Mayday”:

1. Thomas Michael Moxley, Jr., W/M, from Aiken, SC, 43 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
2. Cody Allen Bondurant, W/M, from Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = actor
3. Paul Ellis Kitchens, W/M, from Augusta, GA 44 years of age, occupation = funeral home director
4. Richard Dean Tyndall W/M, from Evans, GA, 24 years of age, occupation = electrician
5. Leon Cornelius Holley, B/M, from Grovetown, GA, 20 years of age, occupation = retail stocker
6. John Kenneth Crowley, W/M, from Augusta, GA, 30 years of age, occupation = unemployed
7. Kyle Andrew Negus, W/M, from Augusta, GA, 26 years of age, occupation = software programmer
8. Travis Demond Driggers, B/M, from Louisville, GA, 34 years of age, occupation = correctional officer
9. Matthew Kyle Sears, W/M, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = tire store employee
10. Matthew Robert Tyndall, W/M, from Augusta, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = restaurant manager
11. Cody Justin Pobanz, W/M, from Augusta, GA, 27 years of age, occupation = crane tech
12. Christopher Anthony Titre, B/M, Martinez, GA, 22 years of age, occupation = grocery store employee
13. Jordan Andrew Waters, W/M, Beech Island, SC, 22 years of age, occupation = pharmacy tech
14. Ruben Ellis Reese, W/M, Martinez, GA, 52 years of age, occupation = Deputy Jailer for Columbia County Sheriff's Office
15. Nicholas Sebastian Barber, W/M, Martinez, GA, 23 years of age, occupation = pool attendant
16. Ian B. Shelby, W/M, Martinez, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = university student
17. Everett Ryan Lewis, W/M, Baxley, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = laborer
18. Heather Elyssa Myers, W/F, 19 years of age, Fort Gordon, GA, occupation = soldier
19. Reginald Martinez Grubbs, B/M, Waynesboro, GA, 40 years age, occupation = truck driver
20. Jordan Blake Roberts, W/M, Grovetown, GA, 21 years of age, occupation = Airman
21. Nicholas Michael Hopkins, W/M, Evans, GA, 25 years of age, occupation = landscaper
22. Tyler Alexander Judkins, W/M, Evans, GA, 19 years of age, occupation = student

Six of the arrested also admitted to previous sexual contact with children. One arrived with two firearms in his vehicle. Additionally, multiple phones and digital devices were seized. Those devices will be processed and analyzed and additional charges may be filed after reviewing the results of that analysis.

GBI Special Agent Debbie Garner headed up Operation Mayday. She said the investigation started targeting child predators in our area several months ago.

"This is something that is occurring all across the country. There are predators that are online that are looking for children to have sex with," Debbie Garner said, "They were coming to meet children most of the time that were fourteen and fifteen years old"

Across the state, 19 agencies worked together for months but arrests got off the ground on Thursday. However, investigators do not plan to release how the arrests were made because they plan to do it again.

Garner has said they did not use any children in the sting.


Ian Shelby