Huron County task force conducts new sex sting; predators wary | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

Huron County law enforcement officers conducted a third sting targeting predators who attempted to arrange sexual encounters with underage individuals in August, but no arrests were made when suspects failed to show up at a prearranged location.

In July and August of 2022, a multi-agency task force consisting of representatives from the Huron, Genesee, Tuscola and Sanilac sheriffs’ offices, the Bad Axe Police Department, the Sanilac County Drug Task Force and the FBI, as well as the Huron County Prosecutor’s Office, conducted stings in Bad Axe and Caseville Township that resulted in the arrest of a total of five suspects. The newly minted task force was assisted by Genesee County Sheriff Gary Swanson and his Genesee Human Oppression Strike Team.

According to a Friday press release from Huron County Sheriff Kelly Hanson, members of his department, including himself, and Bad Axe police officers conducted a similar operation last month. Hanson said the focus of the latest operation was the same: those who prey on children. This time, though, the operation was conducted by only local officers using the training and experience they gained in 2022. 

Hanson said officers posing as minors received numerous requests for sex from local individuals as well as others from outside the area. Many requested boys, he added.

“Fortunately, this year none of the predators ended up coming to our sting location, apparently after thinking twice,” Hanson said in the press release. “At least one, if not two, had gotten close, though. The 10-hour operation ended with it being apparent that a few demented individuals still exist in our county.”

Hanson declined to identify the location and exact date and time of the sting “to avoid compromising any future operations.”

The sheriff asked all county residents to be on the lookout for any activity related to the sexual exploitation of minors and to report it to their local police department. Potential victims are asked to call immediately, he added, and parents are advised to talk to their children about the dangers posed by child predators.

“Seekers of underage sex beware,” Hanson said.

Three of the five men arrested during the 2022 stings have been sentenced to 40 months in prison after they were charged with multiple crimes.

Dale Joseph Ignash, 71, of Filion, was sentenced on Sept. 5 after pleading guilty in June to charges of using a computer to commit a crime and child sexually abusive material or activity. 

Daniel Robert Horetski, 47, of Port Austin, and Kevin Albert Manor, 58, of Sebewaing, were sentenced in May after pleading no contest to the same charges in March. 

Ignash, Horetski and Manor were also sentenced to 270 days in jail on a charge of accosting a child for immoral purposes.

A fourth man, Dennis Bales, 67, of Port Huron, was sentenced in November 2022 to seven years, 11 months to 20 years on the charge of child sexually abusive activity or material; seven years, 11 months to 20 years for using a computer to commit a crime; and 23 months to four years for accosting a child for immoral purposes. Bales pleaded no contest to all three charges in September 2022.

Bales had previous convictions in St. Clair County for solicitation of gross indecency in 2003 and fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2008.

A fifth defendant, Jeremy Susalla, 41, of Ubly, is scheduled to stand trial later this year.

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