Several suspects arrested last year during “Operation Just Cause,” an undercover operation targeting suspected online child predators, have pled guilty to child exploitation charges.
The men who all pled guilty this week were originally arrested in September 2019 along with 21 others after having sexually explicit conversations online with undercover investigators that they believed to be children. Those arrested ranged from 19-65 in age and from areas of Georgia, Tennessee, Kansas and Wisconsin.
The suspects faced a variety of charges including aggravated child molestation; computer crime: illegal solicitation; trafficking of persons for labor or sexual servitude; sexual exploitation of children; and distribution of child pornography.
According to Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Stacie Miller, Steven Vinnenberg, 66, of Cumming pled guilty and agreed to a 30-year sentence. He will serve four years in custody and the remaining years on probation.
Robert Martin, 38, of Cumming also pled guilty and received a sentence of 15 years. He will serve eight years in custody and the rest of the sentence on probation.
John O’Dell, 40, received a 20-year sentence, and he will spend one year in custody after serving 180 days in a Probation Detention Center.
According to Miller, when a driver of a vehicle was originally arrested during the operation, there was a passenger, Roger Nicholson, who was also arrested when officers discovered meth inside of the vehicle.
Nicholson, 44, of Gainesville was charged with Violation of the Georgia Controlled Substances Act and possession of methamphetamine. He also pled guilty and received a sentence of five years on probation.