July 9, 1995 in Nation/World

Fbi Sting Uses The Internet To Catch A Pedophile Agents Hope Operation Will Slow The Trolling For Underage Victims

Chicago Tribune
 

She logged on to the Internet and said her name was “Jessica,” that she was 14 and of the opinion that “older guys treat you grown-up.”

This piqued the interest of Bryan Sisson, 45, a convicted pedophile and out-of-work truck driver from Las Vegas.

After nine months of telecommunicating with “Jessica,” inquiring about her sexual experience and sending her sexually explicit pictures of himself, Sisson traveled to Milwaukee last month for a motel room rendezvous with the 14-year-old, say federal investigators.

But what he got were FBI agents, an arrest and federal charges filed this week for traveling across state lines for the purpose of engaging in a sexual act with a minor.

“Jessica,” it turned out, was the on-line concoction of a female private investigator who told federal investigators she was alarmed at the sexually explicit exchanges she was seeing on the Internet.

Sisson, father of a 12-year-old boy, has agreed to plead guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. He is free on bond with the condition that he not use the Internet, perhaps a moot point because FBI agents in Las Vegas have confiscated his computer.

There have been other cases in which adults have used on-line computers to lure adolescents into relationships and sexual encounters. But this was the first of its kind in Wisconsin and is thought to be the first of its kind nationally as an FBI sting operation, said Tom Schneider, U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Wisconsin.

The FBI became involved within a few weeks of the first on-line contact between “Jessica” and Sisson, Schneider said.

“If a sexual predator can post messages freely and without apprehension or prosecution, it certainly gives the green light to that sort of activity,” he said.

“But if a sexual predator has to wonder, ‘Is my message in fact going to a 14-year-old girl or am I caught up in a sting,’ it might have an effect on the willingness of sexual predators to enter homes at random through the Internet.”

Sisson and “Jessica” communicated on the Internet more than 200 times between September 1994 and May 1995, said Sisson’s Milwaukee lawyer, Lew Wasserman. He said the plea agreement was agreeable to both defense and prosecution.


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