A former University of North Georgia police officer was charged with four counts of enticing a child online following an undercover Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigation, according to authorities.
Jason Noel Lingerfelt, 47, of Cleveland, was arrested Nov. 27. He resigned the position the same day after serving just over a year.
“The charges against Mr. Lingerfelt are inconsistent with the university’s community values and disturbing to us all, and UNG is cooperating fully with these agencies as they conclude their investigation,” UNG Chief of Staff Kate Maine wrote in an email Friday, Nov. 29.
Lingerfelt was booked in to the Hall County Jail, where he remains without bond.
Lingerfelt and nine others were arrested after the month-long investigation concerning online communication between adults and children.
“The offenses included but were not limited to offers of money to a child to perform sexual acts, sending obscene images and describing sex acts,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Derreck Booth wrote in an email.
Operation Good Shepherd started in late October with suspects who believed they were having conversations with children. The investigators actually having the conversations interacted with the suspects through mobile apps, social media and text messages.
Law enforcement started making arrests Thursday, Nov. 21 and made the final arrest Wednesday, Nov. 27 on suspects living anywhere from Cleveland to Lilburn.
Floyd County Police and the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office made one arrest each, and the Hall County Sheriff’s Office arrested the others.
The operation had help from the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
All cases are still under investigation, as there are possibly more charges coming.
“I’m very proud of the efforts of our own Criminal Investigations Division in heading up and executing this operation,” Hall County Sheriff Gerald Couch said in a statement. “I’m confident the hard work of our team and partner agencies in this effort will make the community safer for our children.”
The other nine arrested and the charges include:
Patrick C. Reese, 32, of Flowery Branch: sexual exploitation of children, criminal attempt of aggravated child molestation
Alan Alberto Rojas, 24, of Lilburn: criminal attempt of child molestation and aggravated child molestation, furnishing obscene material electronically to a minor, enticing a child online and human trafficking.
Cynthia Lynn Michelle Lloyd, 25, of Gainesville: prostitution
Patricia Erica Burt, 37, of Cumming: prostitution and human trafficking
Michael Ryan Jewell, 35, of Buford: sexual exploitation of children
Christopher Alan Hoover, 33, of Jasper: five counts of enticing a child online, sexual exploitation of children and pandering by compulsion
Colt David Clemmer, 33, of Talmo: sexual exploitation of children
Matthew David Ingram, 34, of Gainesville: three counts of sexual exploitation of children
William David Gowdy, 40, of Cumming: three counts of sexual exploitation of children and electronic enticement of a minor