A 29-year-old Lebanon man is in police custody and accused of attempting to solicit a young girl for sex using Facebook.
Tyson R. Schmitt, of 228 W. St. Louis St., has been charged by the St. Clair County State's Attorney's Office with indecent solicitation/aggravated sexual abuse, solicitation to meet a child/5 years and older, and exploitation/expose organs. His bond was set at $75,000.
According to the police report from the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, the victim's mother contacted police on Oct. 12 after she learned her daughter, who is under the age of 17, had received messages and photos through Facebook from an older man who wanted to meet her to have sex. St. Clair County Sheriff's Sgt. Brad Clossen met with the mother and Investigator Scott Toth was assigned to investigate the case. During the next five days, investigators were able to identify Schmitt as the person sending the messages.
"We did pose as the victim and worked it from that standpoint," said St. Clair County Sheriff's Sgt. George Mokriakow, with the investigations division.
St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson reminds parents to keep an eye on their children's online activity and to take advantage of the privacy settings on Facebook, setting to only allow friends to access private information.
He recommends monitoring the social media pages of their children, have access to accounts and passwords and remind their children that if someone they don't know contacts them online, don't respond.
"Because of the social media outlet, we are trying to find out if there are any other victims," Mokriakow said. "If parents find this sort of messaging taking place, call the authorities and let us deal with it from there."
The Sheriff's Department is asking that anyone who has had similar contact with Schmitt to call Toth at 825-5776.