Butte police have arrested an Anaconda man suspected of planning to have a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl with whom he was communicating via text messages, Sheriff Ed Lester said Monday.
On Friday about 1:30 p.m., police arrested Robert Leroy Coffey, 32, in the area of East Middle School.
A detective from the Butte Police Department began interacting with Coffey after seeing an online posting. Coffey believed he was interacting with a 14-year-old female via text messages, the sheriff said.
Over a period of more than two weeks, Coffey allegedly exchanged numerous text messages with the detective who was posing as the 14-year-old female. Some of the messages were sexual in nature.
Coffey agreed to meet the person he believed to be the girl in a parking lot near East Middle School on Friday afternoon. Text messages sent by Coffey indicate he believed he had arranged for a sexual encounter with the girl, the sheriff said in a news release.
When he arrived in the area of the school, Coffey was taken into custody by Butte Police officers.
Coffey is being held at the Butte-Silver Bow Detention Center. He is charged with sexual abuse of children and attempted sexual intercourse without consent for arranging the meeting and then going to the meeting place. His bond is set at $50,000.
This operation was led by a Butte Police detective who is part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Several detectives and patrol officers from the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department were involved in the operation.
“Being part of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force greatly enhances our ability to conduct this type of operation. We will continue our efforts to stop sexual predators, both online and on our streets,’’ Lester said.