SHERMAN, TX - A Sherman man is behind bars, charged with online solicitation of a minor. Police caught him trying to meet up with who he thought was an underage girl he'd been messaging for months.
Sherman Police say the internet, and social media, make it easier for child predators to prey on minors.
"You have a very dangerous situation," said Sgt. D.M. Hampton.
And the Grayson County Children's Advocacy Center says victims are even more accessible over the internet, "With these crimes occuring online, instead of that being certain times of the day, that's 24-hour access," said Kelley Batey with the CAC.
Authorities say 32-year-old Julio Romero of Sherman used the internet to talk to a female who identified herself as a minor, asked her to "run away from home and move in with him" multiple times, and eventually asked to meet up with her.
"He obviously thought or knew this person was underage," said Sgt. Hampton.
"There are a number of things that an individual could say to a child or to a teen to make them feel comfortable and gain that trust and the access that they need to commit these crimes," said Batey,
But in this case, what started online a few months ago, ended in the 3300 block of Sherman Town Center.
"The meet was for them to come there and to have some type of sexual contact with each other," said Sgt. Hampton.
Authorities took Romero into custody when he showed up to meet the young girl from the internet. He now faces 2-20 years in prison.
Police say parents should protect their children by monitoring their activity online.
"We want to keep an eye out for secrecy around the computer and the internet and make sure you have access to what your child is doing and the activities that are going on online," said Batey.
Romero is being held on a $150,000 bond.