The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, August 20, 2019 1:00 am

3 facing solicitation charges in DeKalb

Accused of trying to lure girl they thought was 14

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Three northeast Indiana men who each expected a tryst with a 14-year-old girl they met on social media were instead greeted by the Garrett police officer who operated the account.

Bryson C. Greer of Ashley, Donald A. Stafford of Fremont and Brandon D. Shirk of Garrett each face a charge of child solicitation, a felony, according to court documents filed this month in DeKalb Superior Court.

In each case, the men initiated contact with the Facebook account and didn't stop the conversation after being told the girl they thought they were speaking to was 14, the probable cause affidavits said.

In Shirk's case, the police officer pretending to be the girl brought up her age when Shirk asked if she was a cop, the documents said.

“Yea they hiring 14 yr old cops now,” the police officer reportedly wrote in response.

The messages escalated to the men seeking photographs of the girl, the documents alleged, adding Greer sent her account three sexually based images, and Stafford shared a naked picture of himself.

Eventually, the documents said, each man made plans to meet the teen so they could have sex, and they assured the girl they would bring condoms.

While Stafford and Shirk arrived at the meeting place alone, Greer – who communicated under the alias Kane Jonny Johnson – hitched a ride with his mother, according to the documents.

Stafford, who drove 30 minutes for the tryst, told police he knew meeting the teen was a bad idea, the documents said.

Stafford “stated that he had a niece approximately the same age,” an affidavit said. “He stated that if a person his age tried to do what he did (to his niece), that he would kill them.”

In addition to the child solicitation charge, Stafford was charged with a misdemeanor driving violation. Shirk also was charged with possession of methamphetamine, a felony, and possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.

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