Skip to main content
Press Release

Operation Angel Leads to Fifth Federal Indictment for Sexual Exploitation of Children

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Kentucky

Louisville, KY – Earlier this year, several law enforcement agencies worked together in an undercover operation designed to identify individuals seeking to sexually exploit minors. That effort, called “Operation Angel,” resulted in the arrest of four individuals, Justin Aubrey, 26, Steven Earnest, 35, Kevin O’Donnell, 26, and Alexander Young, 26, all of Louisville, Kentucky. A federal grand jury previously returned indictments against all four. Aubrey and Earnest were charged with attempted sex trafficking of children on March 15, 2023. Earnest was also charged with attempted online enticement. O’Donnell, and Young were charged on February 22, 2023, with attempted online enticement. Today, a federal grand jury returned a new and additional indictment against Young for online enticement, transfer of obscene material to a minor, and production of child pornography.

U.S. Attorney Michael A. Bennett of the Western District of Kentucky, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, Special Agent in Charge Robert Holman of the United States Secret Service Kentucky Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Rana Saoud of Homeland Security Investigations Nashville, Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen of the FBI Louisville Field Office, Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel of the Louisville Metro Police Department, Chief Richard Sanders of the Jeffersontown Police Department, and Chief Art Elum of the Owensboro Police Department made the announcement.

According to the latest indictment, in December 2022, Young met a girl, under the age of 16, online. He communicated with her and persuaded, induced, and enticed her to engage in sexual activity for which a person may be charged with a criminal offense, including the production of sexually explicit images which she sent to him. Young also sent the girl sexually explicit images of himself. The latest charges resulted from additional investigation following Operation Angel.

The earlier indictments charged Aubrey and Earnest after they showed up, with money, after negotiating to pay for sex with children under age 14. O’Donnell and Young were charged after showing up to engage in sexual activity with minors under the age of 16. For all these charges, law enforcement officials were acting in online, undercover roles.

All defendants remain in federal custody pending resolution of their charges.

Assistant United States Attorney Jo E. Lawless is prosecuting the cases.

Multiple federal, state, and local officials participated in Operation Angel, led by the USSS. Other law enforcement agencies included the FBI, HSI, the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office Department of Criminal Investigations, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Jeffersontown Police Department, and the Owensboro Police Department.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit  For more information about internet safety education, please visit and click on the tab “resources.”

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.


Updated June 6, 2023