Tahlequah Daily Press

May 4, 2012

Items seized in online sexual solicitation case

By JOSH NEWTON
Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah police this week seized items from the truck of a Keys man accused of soliciting sex from a minor.

Stephen Joe Nelson, 20, thought he was communicating online and through text messages with a 13-year-old girl, but he was actually communicating with Tahlequah Detective Thomas Donnell.

Donnell said police created an “avatar” Facebook page claiming to be a 13-year-old female, and that Nelson contacted the girl and wanted to have a sexual relationship. Nelson was arrested last week after allegedly arriving at a residence to meet the “girl” for a sexual encounter.

Donnell this week sought and received a search warrant for the truck Nelson was driving when he was arrested. Donnell’s affidavit indicates he believed Nelson’s truck, which was impounded last week, would contain evidence of illegal activity between Nelson and children under age 16. A search warrant was granted, and Donnell seized a football jersey, a can of body spray, a silver belt buckle, and lubricants, according to court documents.

Donnell’s affidavit for the warrant indicates Nelson had agreed to have sex with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl as long as she wouldn’t tell anyone, because he didn’t want to go to jail.

Nelson reportedly said, during Facebook messages and texts, that he was going to bring certain items to the face-to-face meeting, including a football jersey, belt buckle, and a bottle of vodka.

Nelson remains behind bars at the Cherokee County Detention Center on a $25,000 bond. Formal charges have not been filed in the case.

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