NWGA Scanner | March 10th, 2022

Child rescued, youth minister arrested along with six others during child pornography sting in Floyd County

Six men were arrested around Floyd County in a two day child pornography sting conducted by the Floyd County Police Department in partnership with the U.S. Secret Service and Georgia Bureau of Investigation in “Operation Spring Cleaning,” which included two investigators from the Cobb County Police Department. Among those arrested was youth minister, Austin Wray Perkins, 25, who is charged with felony aggravated child molestation as well sexual exploitation of children. As part of that arrest on Wednesday police rescued a minor who they was was being victimized by Perkins. “The child had no family or support and had been taken in by (Perkins) for care,” FCPD Sgt. Chris Fincher said. “The juvenile who was rescued by police was living with (Perkins) who was coaching the child about how to act in videos and also engaging in acts of child molestation.” The next step in the investigation FCPD Sgt. Chris Fincher said is to reach out to the church to find if there are more victims. He said Perkins had used his role to coerce the child to perform sex acts and had been living with Perkins. “These were innocent children in a bad place,” Fincher said. “We’re going to try and get them help in the best way we can.” FCPD Sgt. Chris Fincher said the children in the pictures ages ranged from 2-year-olds to 12-year-olds. He said the pictures showed the innocent victims being molested. Two days, 21 locations investigated, seven arrests Tyler Antonio Johnson, 22, sent four sexually explicit images of several minors to other people over a social media app to people in November 2021. He’s charged with felony computer pornography and was released on bond Wednesday. Jackie Steve Autry, 65, is charged with felony sexual exploitation of children and possession of controlled substances after Floyd County police found sexually explicit images and videos of a minor, as well as a glass pipe with suspected meth were found in his possession. Autry was held on a $15,000 bond Wednesday. Jason Michael Gass, 27, was arrested at his Kingston Avenue home after Floyd County sheriff’s deputies found over an ounce of marijuana, THC oil, smoking devices and sexually explicit photographs of minors. Gass is accused of using a social media app to receive and exchange several files of child sexual abuse. The pornography found was between the dates of August 20 to August 22, 2021. Gass is charged with felony computer pornography, felony marijuana possession, THC oil possession and misdemeanor drug related object possession. Gass was released on bond Wednesday. Joab Hayden Stewart, 24, is charged with sexual exploitation of children after Floyd County police found sexually explicit materials featuring minors. He was released on bond Wednesday. Richard Alan Castleman, 26, of Cave Spring, was arrested at his Fincher Street home and charged with felony computer pornography after Floyd County police officers found a sexually explicit video of a minor on his phone. He was held on a $15,000 bond Wednesday. The seventh person arrested in the investigation was a juvenile and their personal information or charges was not released. The investigation The two day investigation was a federal, state and local law enforcement partnership between the FCPD, GBI and U.S. Secret Service Cyber Crime Taskforce which included two investigators from the Cobb County Police Department. Seven members of that taskforce were able to perform on the spot examination of computers, phone and gaming devices to retrieve evidence in hours that normally would have taken days or weeks. “The Secret Service examined 13 items of digital evidence while on location with investigators totaling five terabytes of data,” Fincher said. 26 items in total were collected and are being reviewed with another five terrabytes of data. U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office Steven R. Baisel said they’re still actively looking for predators. “You’re going to get caught,” Baisel said.