Today, November 6, 2023, the honorable Judge Joel Fritton sentenced 46-year-old Jeff Adams to 20 years in the Department of Corrections after he was found guilty by jurors just after an 9-minute deliberation last week. Additionally, Adams will be required to register as a sexual offender. Assistant State Attorney Kevin Davis and Blake Shore were the leading prosecutors for this case.
“Adams knowingly sent sexually explicit messages to who he believed was a minor. Luckily, it was a law enforcement officer posing as a 14-year-old boy but that’s not always the case,” said William “Bill” Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “We are very fortunate here in our state of Florida where we have a Governor who is dedicated to toughening penalties for sex criminals. To briefly quote Governor Ron DeSantis, ‘there is no meaningful difference between a criminal that committed a crime of sexual violence and a criminal that attempted but failed to commit that same crime — neither deserve to have their sentences cut short.’ We absolutely witnessed this today with the sentencing of Adams and will continue to punish those to the Nth degree for preying or attempting to prey on our children. Thank you to Sheriff Mike Prendergast and his team of professionals at the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office for keeping our community safe.”
Adams was originally arrested back in March of this year during the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office’s Operation Lucky Strike, a tactical undercover Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) operation executed by Sgt. Tiffany Barry to apprehend dangerous cyber predators who attempted to engage in sexual activity with a child. Over the course of this operation, officials from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office, along with partners at the United States Secret Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, and the Tavares Police Department, worked collaboratively to capture these online child sex predators.
During the operation, Detective Roscoe Watts and Kyle Helfritz of the CCSO posed as a minor on various websites waiting to be solicited through online messages by these subjects. Despite the acknowledgment of the child’s age, Adams, still chose to send sexually explicit messages, conversations, and detailed requests of various sexual activities he wanted to perform with the child. He was subsequently arrested for Travel to Seduce/Solicit Child in Sex Act: F.S.S. 847.0135(4)(a); and Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device: F.S.S. 934.215. During an interview with CCSO Detectives Patrick Martin and Ryan Brown, Adams eventually admitted that if a 14-year-old child had shown up at the meeting location, he would have taken a photo of the child and use it later for sexual gratification.
Adams had previously been incarcerated for 10 years for a 2001 sexual offense case that was pled to a non-sex offense, which unfortunately did not require sexual offender registration.