A Trinity junior was arrested May 1 and charged with willfully and feloniously engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old girl, a statutory sex offense.
The student, Thomas Jones, met the victim in an Internet chat room and persuaded her to meet him in Orange County after several days of online discussion, said Investigator Ned Thorpe of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
Allegedly, Jones and the victim engaged in some type of sexual activity when they met at the victim's home. Thorpe said they did not have sexual intercourse.
Because Jones and the girl used instant messages to communicate after their initial chat room meeting, no records of their conversations are available, Thorpe said.
The girl informed her parents of the incident, and her parents subsequently called the police.
On the day he was arrested, Jones was placed under a $10,000 unsecured bond by a Orange County Magistrate.
The following Wednesday, Jones appeared before Chief District Judge Joe Buckner who ordered that Jones be held under an $10,000 secured bond.
Thorpe said Jones posted bond, although the student later informed authorities he could not afford an attorney to represent him in court. Jones is scheduled to appear before Buckner June 18.
If found guilty, Jones could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.
Thorpe said police do not know where Jones is now living, and Jones did not return phone calls from his Washington, N.J. residence.
Although these types of crimes are not frequent in Orange County, Thorpe said, they happen occasionally.