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Man faces child porn charges

February 13, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Harpers Ferry Police Chief Donald Buracker posed on the Internet as a 15-year-old girl to help arrest a man accused of distributing child pornography.

Robert Lawrence Brown, 63, Apt. 310, Potomac Terrace Apartments, off East Spring Street in Bolivar, W.Va., was arrested Wednesday night following the Internet sting. He is being held on $200,000 bond at Eastern Regional Jail.

Brown is charged with attempting to distribute and display to a minor any obscene matter, attempting to distribute and display by any means any obscene matter to the minor with the intent to seduce or abuse the minor, and sending, distributing, exhibiting, possessing, displaying and transporting any material visually portraying a minor engaged in any sexually explicit conduct, Buracker said.

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"These are serious charges," he said.

Buracker said that on Jan. 30, Harpers Ferry police got word from The Center of Missing and Exploited Children that a man believed to have been enticing minors for sex on the Internet lived within their jurisdiction.

Four days later, Buracker got on America Online and created the screen name HottieTC1989, claiming to be a 15-year-old Leesburg, Va. girl. He placed Brown's screen name, Vacira2000, on his buddy list.

Buracker was solicited for sex by Brown, who told him he didn't care about age, according to the police affidavit. He said he "commonly had cyber sex with persons underage but had a limit of 12 years old or older," the affidavit states.

Over about two weeks, Brown allegedly sent Buracker nude photos of body parts and images of adults and children having sex, Buracker alleged. He alleged Brown also described sexual acts he wanted performed on him by what he believed was the teenage girl.

Buracker alleged Brown engaged in cyber sex, thinking he was communicating with the fictitious girl. He said he filled out warrants while writing in response, "it feels good."

Brown allegedly offered to pay $30 to $40 to have the fictitious 15-year-old girl brought to his apartment for sex, Buracker said.

Wednesday night at about 9:30 p.m., Buracker arranged for an undercover officer posing as 15-year-old "Jessica," to meet with Brown at the 7-Eleven off Washington Street in Bolivar. Buracker said the officer was wired and police videotaped their interaction from a police car.

Police then arrested Brown, he said.

A search warrant on Brown's apartment was initiated Wednesday night, Buracker said.

"It is believed that Mr. Brown stores on his computer illegal pictures to be distributed to these minors," the affidavit states.

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