Perverted Justice.Com Sting Nets 12 Arrests

Thursday, July 20, 2006

By Marsha Thompson

Our WLBT News crew went undercover last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the national on-line group, Perverted- The operation was designed to catch on-line sexual predators. The sting was carried out in concert with the Hinds County Sheriff's Department and the Hinds County District Attorneys Office.

WLBT News set up shop at a Byram home. The scenario...a 12-13 or 14 -year girl old home alone, chatting with strangers on the internet. Strangers hoping for more than casual conversation. 12 men showed up at the doorstep.

A well-trained Perverted- operative was on the computer posing as a 12, 13 or 14 year old girl home alone for the weekend.

Her identity could not be revealed but she told us."I think a lot of them fell that our national organization would not come to Mississippi."

Within minutes in a Yahoo on-line chat room local men start taking the bait. "One suspect trying to locate the home, chatted on- line with our decoy. He wanted the girl to come outside and start walking down the street."

Authorities considered that very risky. The woman posing as the young girl was actually a sworn Deputy Sheriff. Two Assistant District Attorney's monitored the activity. Hinds County deputies and reserves were in place to strike.

A 46 -year old man who's screen name is "revolver958" soon showed up at the door. He was read his rights then questioned by authorities and then placed under arrest. Here's a portion of our interview with Herman Weaver Langham of Florence. .......

"Did you come here to have a sexual relationship with a 13 year old girl?" No. What are you doing here then? I was coming here to talk to her and ask her why she's messing around on the internet. You told her you could get arrested if you have sex with her, so you knew what you were doing. Yes. You said you wanted to be friends, lovers and companions. You would teach her things. Did you bring condoms with you? Was your intent to have sex with her? No, it wasn't. Do you have any regrets? Yeah, I have regrets of helping somebody. I was going to warn that girl. What's your family going to think? My family is going to think....they ain't going to know what to think."

Sheriff Malcolm McMillin talked with WLBT News about the sting Monday morning.
McMillin says "What surprised me were the number of individuals who would be willing to take that risk to have sex with a child. We had a dozen in two days."

Lawmen say 46- year old Herman Weaver Langham, III is a married self- employed contractor from Florence. He was booked and charged with felony exploitation of a child. His chat logs were taken as evidence.Prosecutors say if convicted Langham could face 5-40 years behind bars.
The same scenario played out day and night at the Byram home. Men from Hinds Rankin and Madison, Gulfport and Neely, Mississippi were arrested by Hinds County deputies. Some brought guns, some presents.

A number of suspects allowed deputies to confiscate their personal computers, others were seized after search warrants were issued.
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