A wrong number led to the arrest of a 62-year-old Seymour man early Thursday morning on charges of electronic solicitation of a minor.
Ronald Lynch, Seymour, thought he was meeting a 15-year-old Salem girl this morning for sex before 8a at the Washington County Fairgrounds.
Instead, he ran into members of the Washington County Drug Taskforce, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputies and Pekin Town Marshall Jeff Thomas. Lynch was placed under arrest after making contact with a female who was stationed at a picnic table at the fairgrounds.
According to Washington County Sheriff Roger Newlon, Lynch sent a text to a random number, which happened to be the cell phone number of an employee of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, on Sunday, June 24 with the following message: “Are you a boy or girl?”
“The employee was very surprised to get the message,” said Newlon. “He contacted the employee and asked if he was a boy or girl. The employee asked how he got his number and [Lynch] responded and asked how old he or she was.
The employee texted back that he was a 15-year-old girl. Lynch wrote back that “she” was too young.
This crime involves a person who, knowingly and with the intent to commit an unlawful act, lures, entices, or seduces a child who is at least three years younger than the defendant (or attempts to do any of these things) for the purpose of meeting with and engaging in sexual conduct with the defendant or another person.
According to Newlon, Lynch wrote back that he was 53-years-old man. But despite that, Lynch wrote more than 500 text messages to the “girl” over the past 72 hours.
“Probably way more than that,” said Newlon, who is in the process of getting a search warrant for the phone so he can determine the number of text messages sent and if Lynch has tried to or has connected with any other juveniles through his phone.
“There’s no telling if he’s done this before,” said Newlon. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he would have continued this had he not been caught this morning.”
At some point during the “conversation” Lynch asked the “girl” for sex and made arrangements to meet.
Newlon said the “employee” told Lynch that “her” family was going out of town and “she” couldn’t talk. “She” also made the excuse that “she” was out of minutes and waiting for “her” mom to get her more minutes.
According to Newlon, despite trying to end the texting, Lynch continued and eventually requested that they meet up for sex.
Looking for a public place where they could apprehend Lynch, Newlon said they chose the fairgrounds because it was open and after last week’s fair, not populated.
“We had an adult female on a picnic table, waiting for him,” said Newlon. As soon as he pulled up and got out of the vehicle, officers approached.
Newlon said Lynch is not answering questions after his arrest.
A database search initially showed that Lynch had no other charges currently again him.
“We talked to Washington County Prosecutor Dustin Houchin and he said it was ok to respond to the text messages,” said Newlon.
Although the employee sent messages to Lynch in response, this is not considered entrapment.
Newlon said as soon as there was a request for sex and to meet, the intent to commit a crime was established.
Lynch is charged with a Level 4 Felony of Child Solicitation and is being held on a $10,000 full cash bond.
According to Indiana Code, Child solicitation is a class D felony, punishable by between six months in jail and three years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000. Solicitation is a class C felony, punishable by two to eight years in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000, if the defendant uses the Internet.