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Sat, Oct. 19

Prescott Valley man arrested after using Facebook to lure minors for sex

Christopher Lewis

Christopher Lewis

PRESCOTT VALLEY - A Prescott Valley man faces charges he used Facebook to lure underage girls for sex, Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said.

He said the case developed over recent weeks as Sheriff's Office detectives learned Christopher Lewis, 21, had "engaged in numerous sexual acts with females under the age of 18 while he was an adult - over age 18."

The case against Lewis alleges he had contact with minors on Facebook, developing an online relationship that later lad to direct contact and a sexual relationship.

"During the detectives' online investigation, Lewis sent a photo of his genitalia via Facebook to a female he believed was 14 years of age," D'Evelyn said.

In the course of the investigation, detectives tracked down two girls unrelated to each other and both living in the greater Prescott area. D'Evelyn said both acknowledged a sexual relationship after Lewis sent them friend requests on Facebook.

One victim told authorities she first had online contact with Lewis when she was 14 years old. Shortly after her 15th birthday in 2013, the girl and Lewis began dating. According to the Sheriff's Office, Lewis, then 19, told the girl's parents he was 17 years old, and he pressured the girls to have sex with him.

The other victim was 16 years old and Lewis was 20 years old when the two began dating in December 2014, leading to an ongoing sexual relationship until February 2015. According to the Sheriff's Office, Lewis also sent the second girl pictures of his genitalia.

D'Evelyn said after obtaining victim statements, detectives served a search warrant Oct. 29 at Lewis' Prescott Valley home, where they recovered evidence such as computers and phones.

At the same time, authorities arrested Lewis and booked him into the Camp Verde Detention Center

Charges against him include aggravated luring a minor for sexual exploitation and 10 counts of sexual conduct with a minor. He was later released on a $20,000 bond.

D'Evelyn said the case serves as a reminder for parents and guardians to monitor Internet use by children.

"In many cases around the country, sexual predators have lured children into traps where they have been harmed and in some cases, killed," he said. "Remind your children who use sites such as Facebook that any contact initiated by unknown persons should be considered extremely suspicious. And of course, taking this type of contact to the next level, a personal meeting, is simply dangerous."

He reminded parents that predators can easily represent themselves as someone they are not. He suggested the FBI's "A Parent's Guide to Internet Safety."

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