Authorities fear sexually explicit texts were sent to minors

By Crystal Britt - bio | email

ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - It is yet another thing for parents to worry about, strangers sending sexually explicit text messages.

Authorities in St. Francois County worry those texts could have been sent to minors.

A 31-year-old man from Washington County is behind bars, but has not yet been formally charged.

Officers believe he sent thousands of pictures of his genitalia by text.

"I was very offended that someone would send out something so graphic," said a Farmington woman who asked we not identify her.

She is speaking out only because she wants more victims to come forward.

"I am very concerned the text messages may be went out to a child."

She made the first of several reports to authorities after getting a graphic photo via text.

Several other adults reported getting the same message.

"It's bad enough when adults receive these messages, but when it comes to juveniles that's when we need to put a stop to it," said Detective Matt Wampler-St. Francois County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives subpoenaed records from the phone company. The texter appears to have targeted three Missouri area codes: 573, 314, and 636.

"He explained to me that he would start with a random number and go up two, down two. Just type in a mathematical sequence," said Detective Wampler.

Officers say about 6,400 text messages were sent within a two week period in late January and early February.

"There was one 36 hour window of continuous text messages," said Wampler.

Officers say the man used a pre-paid phone which is typically very difficult to trace.

"We located a phone call that was sent over to central dispatch," said Wampler.

That's how deputies tracked the man down at his home in Washington County.

He allegedly confessed.

The Farmington woman who appears to be one of many to receive the messages says she hopes the man faces serious charges.

"I have a teenage daughter and would really be livid to find out she received something like that."

The suspect is behind bars, but has yet to be charged.

Authorities say if you or anyone you know also received those graphic texts to please come forward.

If the photos went to children under 17 the suspect could be in a lot more trouble.

Contact the St. Francois County Sheriff's Office at (573) 756-3252 or (573) 431-2777.

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