Disney World, Legoland Employees Arrested in Child-Porn Sting

It’s supposed to be the Happiest Place on Earth.

But behind the scenes, a Walt Disney World employee, a Disney park frequenter, and a Legoland builder are alleged to have been part of a Florida child-pornography ring that involved photos and videos of victims as young as 3 years old.

The three were among the 11 men arrested Tuesday as part of an undercover sting operation that resulted in a total of at least 660 felony charges filed, including possession, promotion, and distribution of child porn, according to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Many of the images and videos confiscated depicted young children being sexually battered, Sheriff Grady Judd said in the release. Victims have not been identified locally, but that aspect of the investigation is ongoing, he added.

Among those arrested was Rodger Catey, a 53-year-old who worked as a project manager in the costume department at Walt Disney World. He was charged with 24 counts of child-pornography possession and “two counts of promotion of sexual performance by a child,” local outlet WSTP reported.

Catey had been “viewing child pornography for approximately one year,” the sheriff’s office alleges. Investigators say they identified porn in his possession that involved children as young as 3 years old. A Disney World representative told WSTP that Catey was employed there “until Monday, but wasn’t able to confirm if he was fired.”

Also arrested: 69-year-old Donald Marich, whom Polk authorities identified as a retired schoolteacher from Maricopa County who often frequents the Disney park alone and is a Disney annual pass holder. He was charged with 16 counts of child-porn possession and three counts of promoting “sexual performance” from a child.

Florida Legoland builder Rickie Vargas-Garcia was also arrested in the sting, accused by officials of  trading child pornography and soliciting “female juveniles online to send him nude photos and videos of themselves.” The 30-year-old was charged with 10 counts of child-pornography possession. Sheriff’s officials said he told investigators that the “youngest female he communicated and shared nude photos with was 11 years old.” Officials said they found files featuring “victims as young as 3 to 5 years old.”

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