Pilot accused of online solicitation

January 26, 2009 10:50:44 AM PST
A Minnesota pilot has gone from the cockpit to a courtroom. Police say he flew to Houston to meet a 12-year-old boy to whom he had been sending sexually explicit messages.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Steven Donald Anderson, 28, is charged with one count of online solicitation and one count of distribution of sexual material to a minor. Deputies arrested him Friday at the home of the 12-year old boy.

Anderson claimed he had flown to Houston to visit a friend.

Authorities say Anderson traveled here from Minnesota to have sex with the Houston boy who he met on the social networking site, MySpace.

The assistant DA handling the case says they became aware of the situation when the boy was texting Anderson while in class. The boy's teacher took his phone from him and began reading the student's text messages, then called police.

The boy admitted to authorities that he had agreed to meet Anderson for sex. They allegedly set up the meeting for this past weekend. When Anderson arrived at boy's house on Friday, he was quite surprised that authorities were there and police were waiting to arrest him. Officials say that's because the suspect apparently took some extreme steps that he wasn't being set up.

"There were particular steps he had taken. He had asked individuals to take photographs of themselves. He had asked specific information that only the child would have, that type of thing. It would have been very difficult if it was an undercover officer in this particular case," said Harris County Assistant District Attorney Eric Devlin.

Authorities are crediting the teacher for being alert and for reading the messages. They say otherwise, they believe that Anderson and the 12-year-old probably would have met over the weekend.

This is the 35th case that has been filed in Harris County so far this year involving solicitation of a child online.

Anderson's bond has been set at $200,000. Authorities in Harris County are working with officials in other states to see if he is connected to of their cases as well.

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