By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON – A Belton police officer posed as a 13-year-old girl to capture a 21-year-old Killeen man.
Matthew Johnnielee Scott, 21, of Killeen, was booked into Bell County Jail Tuesday on $250,000 bond. He was charged with online solicitation of a minor.
Belton police started an investigation of Scott on Feb. 23. A 15-year-old girl reported that she received sexually explicit text messages from Scott's phone number, according to an arrest affidavit.
Over a three-week period, a detective, posing as "Cheri," a 13-year-old girl, received more than 100 sexually explicit messages from Scott, who identified himself as "Matthew Sexii." The messages included pictures of his genitals, the affidavit stated.
Scott asked to meet "Cheri" and gave the detective his address, his mother's name and directions to his home. The detective then verified Scott through cell phone records.
On March 13, the detective met with Scott at the Belton Police Department. He admitted to texting several girls and that he exchanged messages with "Cheri," the affidavit stated.
According to the affidavit, Scott admitted he would have had sex with "Cheri" if she showed up at his house.
The detective contacted five other numbers Scott exchanged sexual messages with, including two who were under the age of 17.
Like most agencies, Belton police handle the increasing occurrence of online solicitation cases in a reactive manner, typically with an undercover investigation. Most departments do not do the "To Catch a Predator" type of investigating seen on the TV show, Police Chief Gene Ellis said.
"We use the most effective investigative resource we can, to get the predator off the street, whether it's an undercover type investigation or some other investigative technique," Ellis said.
"Regardless of where you're at, these type of things occur because it's not like it used to be where a predator had to visit a community to victimize a child. Because of technology, they can be in another state or country and solicit them over a cell phone, the Internet or something of that nature."
Contact Victor O'Brien at email@example.com or (254) 501-7468.