The arrest Jan. 22 of a 60-year-old retired Brevard County banker marked the continuation of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office’s program of identifying and arrest Internet-based sexual predators.
“I strongly believe that sexual predators who try to use the Internet to target innocent juveniles represent the worst in our society,” Sheriff Mascara said. “That’s why the Sheriff's Office works relentlessly to bring these offenders to justice.”
Ronald Gross, of Mims, drove his recreational vehicle to St. Lucie County intending to begin a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old boy. He met the “boy” in an Internet chat room. What he didn’t know was that the “boy” was an undercover Sheriff’s detective.
Less than a week after Gross’ first on line conversation with the undercover detective, he drove his motor home to a Port St. Lucie movie theater parking lot, where deputies took him into custody.
“The defendant confessed that he intended to have sexual relations with a person he thought was a 14-year-old boy,” Sheriff Mascara said. “He also admitted that he had a previous encounter with a 17-year-old boy in Brevard County.”