Prosecutors arrest 57-year-old in online predator case

May 5th, 2009 - 9:51 pm ICT by admin  

Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA (BNO NEWS) – A 57-year-old male was arrested on Sunday afternoon in a shocking online predator case, prosecutors announced on Monday.

Richard Epperson, who is a 57-year-old from Reno, Nevada, was charged with traveling across state lines for the purpose of having sex with a minor. Court documents show that Epperson, between March 18 and April 20th of this year, engaged in online communications with an undercover FBI agent and what he believed to be an 8-year-old girl. He also participated in cell phone calls, SMS text messages and handwritten letters with the agent.

Epperson, at one point, agreed to meet with what he believed was an 8-year-old girl for the purpose of having sex with the child. He traveled from Reno, Nevada by bus and arrived in Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon. He was then taken into custody by law enforcement from the FBI and the Oklahoma City police department.

Epperson maintained several profiles on social networking websites such as WAYN, a social networking website with the goal to “unite travelers from around the world”, and Netlog, a site which is specifically targeting youth in European countries. He describes himself as a single, retired man who is looking for a relationship on one of his profiles. A “very honest and very open minded family oriented and very godfearing man,” Epperson wrote, indicating he is a religious person. Yet, on another social networking site, some users had rated him as “freaky”.

Epperson appeared for arraignment in a U.S. District Court on Monday and was ordered detained, announced John C. Richter, who is the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma. The case was a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Oklahoma City police department.

If convicted, Epperson faces up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in court.

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