December 14, 2012
Lancaster County associate pastor arrested by Attorney General's Child Predator Unit; families urged to review Internet safety during the holidays
HARRISBURG - Agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit have arrested an associate pastor from Lancaster County accused of using Facebook and text messages to sexually soliciting a 15-year old boy, along with sending a nude photo to the boy.
Attorney General Linda Kelly identified the defendant as Clarence Tyrone Taylor, 26, of 442 Manor St., Columbia.
Kelly urged parents to regularly discuss Internet safety with their children, especially during times when family schedules change - such as during holiday vacations. She noted that some predators attempt to arrange meetings with kids, while others send nude photos or sexually explicit videos, many times during their initial online chats.
"Predators use popular social networking sites like Facebook to identify young people who may be vulnerable or lonely, gathering details about their activities and interests and using that information to gain their trust," Kelly said. "Computer and smart phone technology now makes it quick and easy to send messages, photos or video, and many of the men arrested by the Child Predator Unit began sexually graphic discussions during their first online conversations with what they believed were children."
Kelly said that Taylor allegedly made suggestive comments to several young people in his congregation, prompting parents to approach the pastor of the church. In response to those complaints, the pastor contacted Lancaster County Detectives and the Lancaster City Police Department, who forwarded the case to the Attorney General's Office because of the specialized investigations performed by the Child Predator Unit.
According to the criminal complaint, Taylor used Facebook to contact a 15-year old boy from his church - telling the young man that he was "cute," commenting on his appearance and suggesting that they spend more time together. Taylor also allegedly encouraged the boy to contact him via cell phone and to delete all messages between them.
Kelly said that following a review of those Facebook messages, an undercover agent from the Attorney General's Office assumed the online identity of the boy and continued communication with Taylor.
Over the course of several days, Taylor allegedly engaged in a series of text message conversations - sending an explicit nude photo to the boy, requesting similar photos in return and suggesting that they meet for sex.
Taylor was taken into custody on Thursday, December 13th, by agents from the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit, assisted by officers from the Columbia Borough Police Department.
Taylor is charged with one count of solicitation to commit sexual abuse of children, a second-degree felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
He is also charged with one count of unlawful contact with a minor (related to obscene and other sexual materials and performances) and one count of criminal use of a communications facility, both third-degree felonies which are each punishable by up to seven years in prison and $15,000 fines.
Taylor was preliminarily arraigned before Columbia Magisterial District Judge Robert A. Herman and lodged in the Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail. Taylor is also prohibited from having any contact with the victim.
A preliminary hearing will be scheduled before Magisterial District Judge Herman and the case will be prosecuted in Lancaster County by Deputy Attorney General Christopher J. Jones of the Attorney General's Child Predator Unit.
Kelly thanked the Columbia Borough Police Department for their cooperation and assistance with this investigation.
Kelly noted that the Child Predator Unit has made 314 arrests since it was created.
Kelly urged parents to regularly discuss Internet safety and security issues with their children, including the importance of telling a trusted adult if someone engages in inappropriate online activity, such as:
Additionally, Kelly said parents and other caregivers should also monitor how kids are using the Internet, including:
Kelly also encouraged parents to stress the importance of not sharing personal information online, like full names, ages, addresses, phone numbers and school information, and added that children should always be especially cautious about strangers who approach them online.
Suspected internet predators can be reported to the Attorney General's Office by clicking on the "Report a Predator" link, located on the front page of the Attorney General's website, or by calling the toll-free Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044.
(A person charged with a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty)