A man who supposedly drove from La Pine to St. Helens to meet up with a 15-year-old girl he had been chatting with online since September was arrested on Sunday.
At 11:54 a.m. on Sunday, March 11, Dean ONeill Cox, 52, of La Pine, was arrested by St. Helens Police (SHPD) following a lengthy online conversation with an SHPD officer who portrayed himself as a fictional 15-year-old girl through a fake Facebook account.
According to court documents, Cox first made contact on Sept. 26 of last year when SHPD Officer Jamin Coy received a message from him via Facebook messenger. Coy manages a fake Facebook profile that he utilizes for work as a law enforcement officer. The messenger conversation carried on until Cox’s arrest on Sunday.
The fake Facebook account used by SHPD profiles a teenage girl living in St. Helens. During the time of communicating, Coy advised Cox that “she” was 15 years old, and Coy wrote in a report that Cox recognized “her” age. Cox also requested the teenage girl multiple times to open a secret messenger conversation with him because he could “get into a lot of trouble” since she was only 15, according to Coy.
In the report, Coy wrote that Cox on several occasions stated that the 15-year-old was not old enough for intercourse. Cox also described explicitly what he wanted to do with “her” during sexual acts, including sodomy, sexual intercourse and deviant sexual intercourse, and sent photos of himself to the fake profile, according to the report.
Sunday morning, Cox and the fictional girl agreed to meet up in St. Helens. Right before noon, Cox arrived in St. Helens. He was located by SHPD officers in the parking lot near Taco Bell and arrested. According to Coy, Cox understood why he was arrested when asked and gave the officers consent to search his car and cell phone. According to the report, a glass pipe that tested positive for an amphetamine-type compound was found in his car.
Cox admitted to Coy that he has online messenger accounts where he talks to a lot of women, according to the report. Cox claimed that the 15-year-old fictional girl was the only one under the age of 18. According to Coy, Cox said that he uses apps such as Kik, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to talk to these women.
Cox was arrested for first-degree online sexual corruption of a child, computer crime, luring a minor and unlawful possession of methamphetamine.
Chief of SHPD, Terry Moss, confirmed through email that his department set up fake accounts online. “All we have to do is wait. Pedophiles cruising the internet will engage us in conversation and make it pretty easy for us. That's what happened here,” Moss said.
“The suspect described in graphic detail what he planned to do to this fictional girl and then drove here to do it. He didn't realize that we'd be here waiting for him. Unfortunately there are many others just like him.”
In a press release published Tuesday morning, Moss said the case illustrates the dangers associated with online communication. “Parents should continually engage children about online safety and know who is connecting with their children,” he said.
“If your child have accounts, check their privacy settings. The default settings may expose more information than you’d like. Change settings to the highest level of privacy. You never know who is snooping around their social media profiles.”