Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Child Sex Arrest Linked To MySpace

An Orange County firefighter was hauled off to jail Monday after he was accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on the Internet. Clermont police arrested 24-year-old Reginald Welch and a friend after they found them in a car with the teenager.

Sunday night, Hancock Park wasn't very crowded. Police said they found one car with two men and a young girl in it. When they went to investigate, they found unwrapped condoms in the car.

Welch said he didn’t know the girl was 13 and didn't have sex with the girl, but police said it happened twice with the young teen he met on the Internet, and believe it may have been through MySpace.com.

Eyewitness News pulled up Welch's MySpace account and found dozens of sexual references by the man who lists himself as a 24-year-old, single, firefighter.

"It gives the fire department a black eye, the same as if it was a police officer out there for us. In public safety, it gives us all a black eye," said Lt. Eric Jensen, Clermont Police Department.

On Welch's MySpace page, Eyewitness News also found a number of girls listed as Welch's friends whose profiles say they are under age, some as young as 14. Still, Welch denies having sex with the girl.

Police said Welch picked the girl up from her home at 3:30 Monday morning. They said she snuck out when Welch knocked on her bedroom window.

"Nothing happened. They pulled up and we were just sitting there and they handcuffed me," Welch told Eyewitness News.

Finch's friend was charged with one of kidnapping and one count of lewd and lascivious behavior.

Full profiles of both of the accused, as well as the entire story.


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