‘Operation Home Alone’ leads to 10 arrests in online child sex sting

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — The York County Sheriff’s Office said ten potential child sexual predators have been arrested and charged in an online child exploitation investigation called “Operation Home Alone.”

The men are accused of trying to meet girls as young as ten for sex. They were all arrested last month during a four-day sting operation that involved as many as forty officers from more than a dozen different agencies.

The operation took place at several locations including an undisclosed home.

According to deputies, investigators created online profiles on several social media platforms posing as young girls. Deputies said the men arrested in the bust reached out to profiles thinking they were chatting with girls as young as 10 years old.

York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said the internet is a big place and it’s a big job for parents to always be alert to who their children are talking to.

“There’s so many dark crannies and holes that people have time with sick minds, to wander around in,” Tolson said. “Those predators are out there, and they’re waiting for your children, or someone’s child.”

At least of three of the suspects -- Walter Witherspoon, Nilesh Aleti and Joseph Varalli -- offered money for sex with children and are charged with promoting prostitution, according to arrest warrants. Others sent nude photos of themselves and also asked for nude photos.

Deputies said Jose Garcia-Arellano drove nearly four hours from Goldsboro to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl in Fort Mill.

Federal agents said Michael Worley just got out of federal prison. His house arrest ended March 1. They said he began soliciting sex from a child on March 10 and also drove to York County from Canton.

“We want our communities safe, we want our internet safe,” Tolson said. “If these suspects had not been identified and arrested talking to an officer, they would likely have been talking to a live child victim.”

According to Tolson, operations targeting online predators are aimed at protecting children and they’ll keep running them.

“The message we need to communicate to parents in our community is, it’s extremely important to know what your children are doing on their phones,” Tolson said. “Know what your child’s passwords are, know what apps they are using, and check them from time to time to see who they are talking with in chat rooms or texts.”

The operation was a joint effort between multiple law enforcement agencies across the Carolinas which includes the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, South Carolina Attorney Generals’ Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Homeland Security Investigations, US Secret Service, York Police Department, Rock Hill Police Department, Fort Mill Police Department, Mount Pleasant Police Department, Charleston Police Department, Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, and Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.

During a similar investigation in November 2019, deputies said 15 arrests were made.

The list of arrestees are as follows:

1. David Medina Osorio

  • AGE: 34
  • Williow Wood Lane, Rock Hill, SC
  • OCCUPATION: Unemployed
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree, Criminal solicitation of a minor

2. Donald Dewaine Dorsey

  • AGE: 42
  • Possum Hollow Road, Indian Land, SC
  • OCCUPATION: Unemployed
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree, Criminal solicitation of a minor

3. Jose Jesus Garcia-Arellano

  • AGE: 25
  • Goldsboro, NC
  • OCCUPATION: Unemployed
  • CHARGE(S): Sexual Exploitation of a Minor 1st Degree, Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree, Criminal solicitation of a minor (X2), Disseminate Obscene Material to a Person less than 18-years-old

4. Joseph Scott Varalli

  • AGE: 30
  • York, SC
  • OCCUPATION: Unemployed
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree, Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor

5. Keith Alan Grey

  • AGE: 44
  • China Grove, NC
  • OCCUPATION: Unknown
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal solicitation of a minor, Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Victim under 11 years of age 1st Degree, Sexual Exploitation of a Minor 1st Degree.

6. Michael John Worley

  • AGE: 48
  • Canton, NC
  • OCCUPATION: Construction
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree
  • ADDITIONAL: Registered sex offender in North Carolina. Just released from federal prison November 2020. Off house arrest March 1, 2021.

7. Scott Robert Pless

  • AGE: 52
  • Rock Hill, SC
  • OCCUPATION: Auto Body Mechanic
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Solicitation of a Minor.

8. Walter Glenn Witherspoon

  • AGE: 41
  • Le Grange, NC
  • OCCUPATION: Truck Driver
  • CHARGE(S): Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd Degree, Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor

9. Dennis James Hastings

  • AGE: 60
  • Chester, SC
  • OCCUPATION: Machinist
  • CHARGE(S): Sexual Exploitation of a Minor 1st Degree

10. Nilesh Karthikeya Aleti

  • AGE: 29
  • Charlotte, NC
  • OCCUPATION: Independent software company
  • CHARGE(S): Promoting the Prostitution of a Minor