An undercover Denver child predator sting operation in Adams County that lasted 2 days produced ten arrests. Among those taken into custody was a Denver educator employed at Warren Village learning center.
The teacher was 35-year-old David Joseph Hocker. The 17th Judicial District reported that he is now facing multiple felony charges including:
- Criminal attempt to commit trafficking for sexual servitude
- Soliciting for child prostitution
- Criminal attempt to commit sexual assault on a child
Hocker worked at an after-school program at Warren Village for only eight days according to the facility’s President and CEO, Sharon Knight. Warren Village is a Denver non-profit learning center that also offers affordable housing and family services to single-parents and their children.
According to Knight, Hocker failed to show up at work one Friday, and upon reaching his emergency contact, the learning center was told Hocker would not be returning to work. It was not known by the school that Hocker had been arrested until the following Tuesday.
Knight was adamant that Hocker was never alone with the children at any time and that he had passed several levels of background checks. She emphasized that there were no red flags during the screening process. She added that the school does not suspect any improprieties because anytime Hocker was with the children it was in the presence of another teacher.
Dave Young, the 17th Judicial District Attorney, commented on the gravity of the situation and noted that the suspect’s place of employment was disclosed in the press release to prevent any assumptions about where he worked.
Young reiterated that no children at the center had been victimized and that the sting was carried out in a manner that produced no victims. Although Young did not expand on the details of the operation, court documents provide some insight to how it worked.
According to court documents, a state patrol investigator known on Craigslist as ‘Soft lil hands’ placed an advertisement that offered sex with underage girls in exchange for cash. One suspect responded to the ad multiple times inquiring about the cost and location to meet.
Surat Suvanprateep, another suspect, was employed with Aurora Public Schools. The 17th Judicial District Attorney’s office reports, however, that Suvanprateep did not work with the children but rather held a warehouse position. He faces charges of soliciting for child prostitution and criminal attempt to commit trafficking for sexual servitude.
According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 3 of the arrested suspects were illegal immigrants from Mexico. These suspects will face deportation upon prosecution of their criminal cases.
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