Carroll County man faces sexting charge


Staff report

AUSTINTOWN

A Carroll County man faces charges after township police said he solicited sex from an officer posing as a 15-year-old girl.

Wayne Harper, 68, of Carrollton, who was arrested Tuesday night, is charged with importuning, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, possessing criminal tools and disseminating matter harmful to juvenile.

Harper initiated contact with police Sept. 12 after an ad was posted on a website known for soliciting sex, the report said. Police said the man maintained steady contact with them from that date.

Harper attempted to lure the girl to his home, stating she needs “to come to my place for pizza,” the report said. Through text messages, police said he made frequent allusions to participating in sexual activities with the girl, calling her “dessert.”

For the duration of communication, Harper called himself “Mike,” the report said.

Police gave Harper the option to solicit sex from an 18-year-old girl, but “even when given the option of having sex with an adult he has chosen the 15-year-old girl,” the report said.

Police said Harper said to the girl: “I don’t want to get in trouble but I do want you. ... You know what you want.”

Through conversations with and pictures sent from Harper, police were able to determine his true identity before making the arrest, the report said. He is the owner of a sporting goods store in Carrollton.

Police arrested Harper at an undisclosed business on Mahoning Avenue, near Raccoon Road, the report said.

Harper’s preliminary court hearing is set for Wednesday in Mahoning County Area Court.

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