Efforts by the Boone County Sheriff’s Department to crack down on child molestation resulted in deputies arresting a man Friday on suspicion of enticing a child.
Deputies arrested a man who had allegedly communicated with a detective who was posing as a 13-year-old girl online, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department. After communicating for about two weeks, the man allegedly arranged to meet the fictitious girl at a prearranged location for sex.
Robert Lee Malone, 49, of Linn is charged with attempted enticement of a child, attempted first-degree statutory rape and attempted first-degree statutory sodomy.
A correctional worker with the Missouri Department of Corrections, Malone remained in custody Monday at the Boone County Jail, with his bond set at $95,000.
Sgt. Mike Stubbs said this is the latest in a string of arrests stemming from a Sheriff’s Department investigation. The investigation, which has been ongoing since October, has netted eight arrests.
In the investigation, a detective enters online chat rooms and participates in conversations posing as a child, Stubbs said. Sometimes adults will establish further communication with the detective and want to arrange personal contact.
To avoid possibly entrapping the suspect, the detective never initiates conversations and only makes statements when answering what the suspect asks, he said.
The goal of the investigation is twofold, Stubbs said. The department wants to deter adults from enticing children in Boone County and to make parents aware that such criminals exist.
“We want to make people aware that if you’re an adult trying to entice a child, we are there, too, and we will arrest you,” Stubbs said.
Stubbs said the suspect and the detective have to agree to participate in sexual conduct for an arrest to take place.
“They get pretty graphic, I’ll put it that way,” he said. “When it all comes out in court, you can see where they’ve gotten pretty graphic.”