Springfield man, Winston mayor, 2 others caught in online child sex investigation
MYRTLE CREEK, Ore. - Police arrested 4 men who officers say arranged to meet a 14-year-old Myrtle Creek girl for sex, including the mayor of a nearby town.
In that case, Myrtle Creek Police arrested 71-year-old Kenneth Lewis Barrett of Winston on March 19 when he arrived at a location where he had arranged to meet what he believed was a 14-year-old girl, police said.
Barrett is the mayor of Winston.
Police found a semiautomatic handgun concealed on Barrett. Officers also seized a phone and computer.
Officers booked Barrett on charges of Online Sexual Corruption of a Child II and Unlawful Possession/Concealment of a Firearm.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and more charges may be filed against Barrett.
Barrett was the fourth person arrested in an ongoing investigation into online sex crimes against children, the police department said.
None of the four suspects knew one another, nor were they working together in any way, police said.
The men believed they were communicating online with a 14-year-old girl in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.
The first arrested happened February 24 in Springfield.
Police there arrested William Jerry Merrill, 51, when he arrived at a designated meeting place thinking he was meeting the girl for sex, Myrtle Creek Police said. Merrill was booked in the Lane County Jail on charges of Online Sexual Corruption of a Child I, Luring a Minor and Attempted Using a Child in Display of Sexually Explicit Conduct.
Two days later, police arrested Jacob Allen Hayter, 18, of Roseburg in the Green District when he arrived at a designated meeting place to meet the girl.
Police arrested him on charges of Online Sexual Corruption of a Child I and Luring a Minor.
A man in Bakersfield, California, "had arranged to have a teen girl from Myrtle Creek ride a Greyhound bus to Bakersfield to come and live with him," police said.
Police said Timothy Scott Bernhardt, 28, of Bakersfield, California, "had sent the teen girl multiple inappropriate photos and videos of himself to the girl."
When Bernhardt arrived at the bus station in Bakersfield on March 10, he was met by police and arrested after a brief struggle, police said.