BURLINGTON, Vt. — Nine men have been arrested in Vermont following an undercover sting operation in which investigators posed online as underage girls.

The Burlington Free Press reports (http://bfpne.ws/2gYMvmk ) eight men have been charged with a single felony count of using electronic communication to lure a child for sexual exploitation. A ninth man faces federal charges. The men who are accused at the state level appeared at hearings last week.

Police say investigators working with the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force posed as 14-year-old girls on social networks in most of the state cases. Authorities say an investigator posed as a parent offering to let a suspect exploit their 10-year-old child in one case.

Each of the accused men faces up to five years in prison.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press, http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com