Sting captures second man in a week trying to solicit sex with minor

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The second Cape Girardeau County man in a week has been arrested for soliciting sex over the Internet with a minor who later turned out to be police officer conducting a sting operation.

Irvin E. Holderbaugh Jr., 40, of 924 E. Independence St. in Jackson was charged with attempted statutory rape and attempted enticement of a child.

According to a police statment, Holderbaugh was carrying seven Trojan condoms, 11 Viagra pills and a box cutter knife.

On Wednesday, the Bollinger County Sheriff's Department started an undercover operation into online sexual predators, according to a probable cause statement. Holderbaugh began carrying out sexual conversations via Yahoo Messenger and e-mail with the officers, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.

Holderbaugh offered to have sex with the girl, and the two agreed to meet Saturday at a location in Jackson City Park, according to the statement.

A female Bollinger County communications officer posing as the 14-year-old girl walked into the park and was approached by Holderbaugh, who was subsequently arrested around 7 p.m. Saturday.

A $25,000 cash bond was set for the Holderbaugh, who was scheduled for a preliminary hearing April 4.

In a separate incident last week, Robert C. Wells, 45, of 2515 Horseshoe Ridge in Cape Girardeau was arrested for attempting to arrange a meeting with a 15-year-girl for sex. The girl was actually a Cape Girardeau police detective conducting a sting operation.

Wells was charged with attempted statutory rape. His bond was set at $25,000.

He met the "girl" on the Internet Web site MySpace.com and began exchanging e-mails.

"I'm surprised two were caught in one week," Cape Girardeau Prosecuting Attorney Morley Swingle said in a statement released to the press.

"Perhaps they should spend more time reading the newspaper and less time sitting at the computer soliciting children for sex," he said.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611 extension 127

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