Online chat leads to sex assault suspect | VailDaily.com
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Online chat leads to sex assault suspect

Alison Miller
Vail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY ” You can never know for sure who the person you are chatting with online really is, or why they are asking you questions about yourself.

A 17-year-old boy who was wanted in Eagle County for sexual assault on a 3-year-old girl found that out the hard way when he was arrested in front of his Utah classmates after he led police right to him through an online chat.

The boy, whose name is being withheld because he is a juvenile, pled guilty in an Eagle County courtroom Monday to a lesser charge of public indecency, the District Attorney’s Office said. Authorities did not release further details of the crime. The boy will be sentenced on June 1 at 1 p.m.

The boy, originally from Gypsum, and his mother fled to Utah after she discovered through her job at the courthouse that he was about to be charged, and neither of them had been heard from for about two years, said Detective Ryan Millbern of the Vail Police Department.

“It was a pleasure to be able to help out the District Attorney’s Office in taking a sexual predator in who had fled from prosecution,” Millbern said.

To catch the boy, Millbern did an Internet search of the his name and discovered he played interactive games that included chatting, he said.

“I went undercover as a teen from California and chatted with him for about six weeks,” Millbern said.

Through their chat sessions, Millbern said the boy told him he went to high school in St. George, Utah, plays guitar in a band called IMITATE, wrestles and likes to play video games.

“I found out where he went to school and called the school to tell them we had an active warrant for his arrest,” Millbern said. “They yanked him right out of class to arrest him.”

The rise in sexual assault on children, and especially its tie to the Internet, has been receiving attention lately from state legislatures.

The Colorado State House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday that requires registered sex offenders to hand over to the state all Internet and e-mail account names, or face felony charges for failing to do so.

“House Bill 1326 will allow offenders to be locked up for a longer period of time when they’re caught again,” said Rep. Steve Johnson, the Boulder Republican who sponsored the bill. “It’s important that we get tough on this issue and protect our children.”

Staff writer Alison Miller can be reached at 748-2928 or armiller@vaildaily.com.


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