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Eight Nabbed In Hudson Valley Child Sex Sting

The Ulster County Sheriff's Office, along with other law enforcement agencies, arrested eight people during a child sex sting.
The Ulster County Sheriff's Office, along with other law enforcement agencies, arrested eight people during a child sex sting. Photo Credit: Ulster County Sheriff's Office

Eight people were nabbed during a child sex sting in which law enforcement and federal authorities posed as minor children online.

Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum said the arrests, earlier this month, are a result of a child predator identification and enforcement operation in the Town of Ulster.

Members of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force, Town of Ulster Police Department, the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, and New York State Police took part in the sting, he said.

During the operation, the defendants solicited an arrangement to have sex with minor children and then met undercover police officers to engage in sex with a child, VanBlarcum said.

The following were arrested and charged:

  • Eric S. Decker, 42, of Kingston. Attempted criminal sexual act and attempted disseminating indecent material to minors.
  • Michael A. Sweeney, 51, of Kingston. Attempted criminal sexual act.
  • Ian D. Troxell, 38, of Woodstock. Attempted criminal sexual act.
  • Michael J. Minnerly, 19, of Clinton Corners. Attempted rape.
  • Travis M. Sammeth, 34, of Newburgh. Attempted criminal sexual act.
  • Elroy M. Gould III, 46, of Unionville. Attempted rape, attempted criminal sexual act, attempted patronizing a prostitute.
  • Joseph K. Simon, 36, of Kingston. Attempted criminal sexual act.
  • Dana J. Tompkins, 59, of Rhinebeck. Attempted rape.

The defendants were arraigned in Town of Ulster and Town of Hurley Justice Courts and remanded to the Ulster County Jail.

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