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Detective posing as a 13-year-old girl online leads to child sex solicitation arrest

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A man is behind bars tonight after deputies say he solicited who he thought was a 13-year-old girl for sex online.

Deputies say 24-year-old Richard Lewis of Citra sent nude pictures and a video to detective Jacob Eady of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office who was posing as a 13-year-old girl.

“He actually mentioned that he was going to sneak me out of the house once my dad went to sleep,” Eady said.

Lewis initiated conversation with Eady's fake account.

The detective repeatedly told Lewis he was a 13 year old girl - and Lewis didn't mind.

“He was a young guy here in Gainesville who had no history,” Eady said. “There was no reason to suspect he was capable of doing it.”

Lewis asked the persona if she was a virgin. He started sending nude pictures and a video of himself, asking her to do the same.

“For about a week now he’s been talking back and forth with me and in that conversation has agreed to meet me as well as soliciting sex as well as sending obscene materials knowing I was a 13-year-old,” Eady said.

A picture of himself in a work uniform lead investigators to Lewis. He was using his work’s Wi-Fi to send messages.

Detectives then took him into custody, where they say he admitted to everything.

“Soliciting a minor for sex, sending obscene materials to a minor, as well as misuse of a two-way communication device,” Eady said.

Detectives say it’s important for parents to know what their kids are doing online, especially as they have more free time this summer.

“Every parent should have full, complete access to every electronic device. Be it a phone, a tablet, an I-touch,” Eady said. “Let them watch the news. Let them see this guy was arrested here in Gainesville.”

With access to those devices, know who the child is talking to. If there are any suspicions, call law enforcement.

“Even if the child doesn’t respond, if something was sent to the child, that’s something that still needs to be investigated because we’re probably going to find other victims as well,” Eady said.

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