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Sat, Oct. 19

Man suspected of luring girls for sex



COTTONWOOD - An 18-year-old man was arrested and charged with sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl and luring a 13-year-old girl for sexual exploitation, a Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman said.

Kether Augenstein, 18, was taken into custody after the 14-year-old, a Verde Valley resident, told sheriff's detectives that she had known Augenstein for several months and that in December 2012 and January 2013 he had initiated sex with her, sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

While they were investigating that charge, "detectives learned that Augenstein was also in a relationship with a 13-year-old female in the Cottonwood area," D'Evelyn said.

Detectives, concerned that he was "grooming additional young females for sexual activity," located Augenstein and arrested him the same day, D'Evelyn said.

In an interview with detectives, he admitted that he had sex with the 14-year-old "only after succumbing to her advances," D'Evelyn said, and said he had contacted the 13-year-old by phone. Augenstein denied having had direct contact with her, he said.

The detectives located the younger girl and she told them she'd met Augenstein at a football game, where he told her he was 15 years old, and then began exchanging nude photos by text message.

The victim told detectives that Augenstein had asked for sex, but she refused.

Augenstein was charged with two counts of sexual conduct and one count each of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and furnishing harmful items to a minor.

He's being held in the Camp Verde jail without bond.

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