KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – In the South Valley, a sex trafficking sting operation ends with 17 arrests in Kings County, including a Lemoore Union High School District employee.
The district sent out an email Wednesday informing parents about the arrest of district psychologist, Christian Loeffler.
District officials say no students were involved in this operation that led to his arrest.
“You know you may get 3, 4, or 5, but 17, that’s a lot,” said Kings County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Nate Ferrier.
17 arrests in three days were the result of Operation Link Up, a multi-agency crackdown on human trafficking and sexual predators in the Central Valley.
“Our detectives and investigators posed as decoys as 13-year-old and 16-year-old males and females, various online and cell phone applications were used,” explained Sgt. Ferrier.
Then, authorities say the men agreed to meet the underage teenagers, which were really law enforcement officers, at various locations around Kings County. But when they showed up, they were arrested.
One of the suspects is 35-year-old Christian Loeffler, a Lemoore Union High School District psychologist.
The district says he’s been employed four years and regularly works with parents and students.
He’s now on paid administrative leave.
Superintendent Debbie Muro said, in part, “The district takes its obligation to protect its students very seriously; and does everything in its power to ensure that it hires and retains the best possible employees… We ask the public to assist with preserving a culture of care and respect for all those involved.”
Sgt. Ferrier encourages parents to check in with their children and their social media.
“Know their behavior because you might start seeing a change in their behavior, they get quiet or are in their room all the time on their phone or something is not right, and you need to look into it,” said Sgt. Ferrier.
Sgt Ferrier says while this operation made a dent in the problem, there’s more work to do.
“It’s incumbent on all of us to look after our children and protect them because many kids are vulnerable and it’s tragic we have to have these operations in the first place,” said Ferrier.
All suspects were arrested and booked into the Kings County Jail on various charges