Three more Oklahoma men have been arrested for allegedly making lewd or indecent proposals to a minor as part of an online sex sting carried out by local police. Two men from Guthrie and one from Coyle reportedly used Craigslist to solicit sex from an individual they believed to be a 15-year-old boy, and they each made arrangements to meet the "boy" at an area restaurant. When the three men arrived, they discovered that they had not, in fact, been chatting with a teen, but rather an undercover task force investigator.
According to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) each man was arrested upon leaving the restaurant after being unable to find the boy they were planning to meet. Arrested were:
Each of the men was arrested on complaints of lewd or indecent proposals to a child and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act. They were booked into the Logan County Jail.
These arrests are the most recent of a series of arrests stemming from undercover sting operations conducted by local law enforcement designed to catch online sexual predators and individuals downloading and distributing child pornography online. Over the last year, Oklahoma police and undercover task forces have made numerous arrests from "To Catch a Predator"-type stings like those seen on Dateline NBC:
- Walter Wallace, 46, Guthrie
- Bobby Anderson, 26, Guthrie
- Johnnie Jones, 40, Coyle
- Scott Froedge, 34, of Texas, was arrested in northwest Oklahoma City after allegedly travelling to meet an individual he believed to be an 8-year-old girl. Froedge was booked into Oklahoma County Jail on a complaint of child sexual exploitation and was held on $24,000 bond. He is a registered sex offender in Texas after a child pornography conviction in 2002.
- Donald Lee Paden, 23, Tahlequah - charged in Cherokee County District Court with lewd acts/indecent proposal to a child and soliciting sexual conduct or communication with a minor by use of technology after communicating with an investigator he believed to be a 13-year-old girl
- Stephen H. Jackson, 46, Oklahoma City - arrested after allegedly sharing child pornography with an undercover Guthrie police officer. Jackson was arrested on complaints of arrested on complaints of aggravated possession of child pornography, distribution of child pornography, production of child pornography, forcible sodomy, lewd acts with a minor, and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act after investigators found pornographic images with local children at his home.
- Eric W. Mowery, 38, a Hefner Middle School band teacher with Putnam City Schools, was also arrested for allegedly sharing child pornography with an undercover Guthrie police officer. He was arrested on complaints of possession and distribution of child pornography and violation of the Oklahoma Computer Crimes Act.
A sting operation is an act of deception, where police or investigators pose as decoys in an attempt to catch people in the act of committing a crime. Such an operation must be conducted carefully in order to avoid entrapment--a defense strategy that claims a defendant would not have committed a crime if he or she had not been tricked or manipulated into doing so.
A well-known case a little over a year ago resulted in six arrests in Arizona and led to the "Yavapai Six" claiming entrapment. The men were arrested for allegedly soliciting an police investigator they believed to be a 13-year-old girl, but they say the investigator "created a crime and a criminal out of thin air." The men claim that they met a person they believed to be a 19-year-old woman on an adult website that required users to verify their age of at least 18. They say that after they began chatting with the "woman," she asked them to move their chats to a non-age-restricted website, where she then told them she was 13.
One of the men says that when the "girl" tried to arrange a meeting at a restaurant, he refused, saying, "It wasn't worth my time if she was 13 years old, I didn't want to go to jail." Police arrested him at his home anyway.
Another man said he would not meet her "unless she could verify her age to my satisfaction. When she would not, I told her 'I do not need the drama' and stopped the chats and deleted the files from my PC." He was also arrested at his home.
A third man stated that he "blew off" the decoy after their initial chat, but the investigator posing as "Breanna" continued to email him.
A fourth man said that "Breanna" "would continually try and talk me into meeting her in person, but I only wanted someone to chat with and wasn't interested in meeting her." He maintains that he is not guilty of any crime, saying that Balys he could not possibly have committed "luring," because he did not meet or attempt to meet the subject of his chats. He was also accused of "dangerous crimes against children," but his sex crime defense attorney successfully argued that he never contacted a child--only an adult police detective.
The anonymity of the internet can make it easy for people to do things or say things they would not be willing to do or say in face-to-face contact; However, the person on the other side of the chat has the same anonymity. If you or a loved one is arrested as a result of an online sex sting, or if you feel that you may be the victim of entrapment, contact a sex crime defense lawyer in Oklahoma. Visit Oklahoma-Criminal-Defense.com to submit a confidential sex case review form.
- The Canadian County Sheriff's Department arrested two men who believed they were soliciting a 14-year-old-girl, but who were actually communicating with and Internet Crimes against Children (ICAC) investigator. Arrested were Billy Barrick, 56, Yukon, and Bryan Rubberstell, 31, Kingfisher.