Two men were arrested by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office after knowingly attempting to solicit sex from a 15-year-old child online, the agency announced Thursday.
Rocky Keith McCallum, 50, of Monmouth was arrested Wednesday, and Steven Jay West, 70, of Gleneden Beach was arrested Feb. 10.
McCallum was charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor and attempted use of a child in display of sexually explicit conduct. West, who detectives say agreed to pay for sex with a 15-year-old, was charged with first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, second-degree online sexual corruption of a child, luring a minor and purchasing sex with a minor.
Detectives posed as minors online and posted to a “local online service” on Feb. 8. The Sheriff’s Office said a “large number of men responded to this post” and were then told the person was 15 years old.
“We encourage parents to have open and ongoing conversations about safe and appropriate online behavior anytime your children have access to digital devices capable of accessing the internet,” Capt. Don Rogers said in a news release. “The Benton County Sheriff’s Office will continue to conduct these investigations to identify and hold accountable those individuals who choose to prey on our children.”
The agency cited a recent FBI press release about a potential for increased risk as a result of children spending more time online and predators seeking out sites popular with children as motivation for the operation.
The Benton County Sheriff’s Office encouraged people to report suspected online enticement of children to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at http://CyberTipline.org or 1-800-843-5678.