ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. - A teacher who worked at Denver learning center is among ten child-predator suspects arrested during a two-day undercover sting in Adams County.
David Joseph Hocker, 35, taught at Warren Village in Denver, according to the 17th Judicial District Attorney's office. He is facing several felony charges:
- Criminal attempt to commit trafficking for sexual servitude (2 counts)
- Soliciting for child prostitution (2 counts)
- Criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child (2 counts)
Sharon Knight, President and CEO of Warren Village, said Hocker just taught eight days at an after-school program at the village, a Denver nonprofit that provides affordable housing, a learning center and family services for single-parent families and their children.
Knight said when Hocker didn't show up to work at the learning center Friday, an official called his emergency contact and was told he wouldn't be returning. The school didn't learn of his arrest until Tuesday.
Knight stressed that Hocker had cleared several layers of background checks. She added that he was never alone with children -- always teaching with at least one other adult.
"Obviously, it's very concerning," said 17th Judicial District Attorney Dave Young. "The reason we put that information out in a press release is so that people can know where this individual is and there's not speculation as to what school this individual was teaching at."
Young said that to his knowledge, no children at the school have been victimized.
He said the sting was conducted in a way that there were no victims.
He declined to elaborate on the operation itself, but court documents describe how a portion of the operation worked.
A state patrol investigator posted an ad on Craigslist called 'Soft lil hands.' The ad offered sex with underage girls in exchange for cash.
One of the suspects allegedly replied to the ad with 38 messages seeking information on where to meet and how much services cost.
A second suspect arrested in the sting, Surat Suvanprateep, is an employee of Aurora Public Schools, but works in a warehouse position that does not put him in contact with children, according the 17th Judicial District Attorney's office.
Suvanprateep is facing charges of criminal attempt to commit trafficking for sexual servitude and soliciting for child prostitution.
The others arrested include:
* Douglas Burgos
* Jason Lee Sauer
* Wade Donald Smith
* Fidel Pete Flores, Jr.
* Rene Fuentes
* Jerry Rivera
* Jose Alberto Cortez-Camacho
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said three of the ten suspects are illegal immigrants from Mexico who will face deportation after their criminal cases are prosecuted.
The sting took place last Wednesday and Thursday. Officials said undercover Homeland Security Investigations special agents were assisted by detectives from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Commerce City Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol.
"I'm very proud of the investigation we had," Young said, "especially knowing that this is 'sex trafficking month' and we were able to take ten individuals who were certainly inclined in human trafficking out of Adams County and kids are safe as a result of that."
"To protect the most vulnerable in our society, we must be proactive -- identifying and apprehending predators who have decided to take advantage of our children," said David A. Thompson, special agent in charge of HSI Denver.