Houston, Texas: First Assistant District Attorney Michael R. Holley issued a press release yesterday concerning an online operation conducted by the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office Internet Crimes Against Children Section during the month of June 2022.
According to the statement the multi-agency sting operation targeted "persons actively seeking to sexually exploit children via the internet in Montgomery County."
Those arrested as a result of the operation range in age from 24 to 55-years-old, and eight of the nine were from Texas, with the remaining individual being located in Pennsylvania.
After obtaining an arrest warrant for 39-year-old Thomas J. Manno of Clarion County, Pennsylvania on a charge of promotion of child pornograpy, those involved in the sting "provided substantive information for local authorities to execute a search warrant for his residence."
The release focused in on two individuals arrested saying, "given the nature of this offense" and the defendants "potential access to children throughout [their] employment."
Lawrence Clayton Hopkins, 55, was identified as a youth pastor before his arrest on a charge of online solicitation of a minor. Hopkins worked as an associate pastor at Rollingbrook Fellowship in Baytown, Texas. In a statement sent to ABC, the church stated that Hopkins' employment had been terminated following the arrest.
"Dr. Hopkins' actions oppose the message of the Gospel and have caused immense pain to both his immediate family and his church family. We humbly ask for your prayers," the statement read in part.
In speaking with Fox26 it was revealed that investigators had reason to believe that Hopkins may have also worked as a pastor in other towns such as Midlothian and College Station.
The District Attorney's Office is asking that anyone with information concerning potential victims of Hopkins contact Detective Sean Bridges at the Montgomery County Constable's Office at (936) 538-3438.
44-year-old Clinton Brian Harvey, arrested on charges of online solicitation of a minor as well as unlawful carrying of a weapon, was identified as a juvenile detention officer in Montgomery County. According to his LinkedIn profile, Harvey has been employed as a juvenile detention officer since March 2021.
Anyone with information concerning potential victims of Harvey is asked to contact Detective Derrick Dunn of the Conroe Police Department at (936) 760-6918.
The remaining individuals arrested are identified as follows:
- Edward Steward Geddes, 42, Houston, Texas: online solicitation of a minor, tampering with evidence
- Ahsan Shah, 36, Houston, Texas: online solicitation of a minor
- Elijah Charles Lewis, 24, Houston, Texas: online solicitation of a minor
- Francisco Xavier Garza, 29, Spring, Texas: online solicitation of a minor, possession with intent to deliver- methamphetamine
- Isaac Anthony Marino, 30, Houston, Texas: online solicitation of a minor
- Robert Clarence Clayton, 27, Channelview, Texas: online solicitation of a minor
"The above-listed defendants are still under investigation, and additional charges may be filed at a later date. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Anyone with information relating to other offenses or potential victims of these defendants is encourage to contact Detective Sean Bridges with the Montgomery County Constable's Office Precinct 3 at (936) 538-3438."
"We know the internet can be a dangerous place for children," Special Victims Division Chief Shanna Redwine said in the press release. "The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office are committed to making it legally perilous for adults intent on harming them. We ask parents and caregivers to assist us in this effort by closely monitoring and talking to children about online risks, of which there are many."