By Darrell Todd Maurina
A three-week undercover sting operation led to the arrest of George Ford, 28, who police say used the Internet to lure what he thought was a 14-year-old girl into a meeting.
Ford actually had been corresponding with a state police agent via e-mail and arranged to meet her in the Clovis area, according to New Mexico State Police. When state police officers arrived at the site, Ford fled on foot but was apprehended after a short chase.
Curry County Adult Detention Center officials said Ford remained in jail Monday night in lieu of an $11,000 bond. Ford, a registered sex offender in Clovis, is charged with child luring and with resisting, evading or obstructing an officer, and could face up to 18 months in state prison.
Sgt. John Briscoe of the state police’s Criminal Investigation Division said attempts to lure children via the Internet aren’t common in the area.
“It’s been a rare case,” Briscoe said. “It was reported by an individual that they came across somebody online who they believed was a child predator and that’s how this started.”
Briscoe said parents need to pay close attention to what their children are doing with their computers.
“It’s usually a good idea to monitor and be aware of what their kids are into and are doing online,” Briscoe said. “If someone comes across something that looks suspicious it would be a good idea to report it if the content was sexual in nature or what they deemed to be inappropriate in a conversation or chat on the Internet.”
Briscoe said specific examples of inappropriate questions to children include requests for a child’s name, whether their parents are home, or what their sexual experiences may have been.
New Mexico court records show that Ford was convicted in 1997 for criminal sexual penetration of a child between 13 and 16 and was discharged from probation in April 2000. Curry County Undersheriff Doug Bowman confirmed that Ford is on the county’s sex offender registry.