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Mena Arkansas News covering Polk County and the surrounding area

Man found guilty of internet stalking of a child

Sting nets “Bathe” looking for underage participant in satanic sexual ritual

By Jeri Pearson

Last week, a jury found Travis Parks, of Alma, guilty of internet stalking of a child and for attempting to compel a person he believed to be a child to send sexually explicit photos in December of 2019.

Testimony given at the trial showed Park’s online profile depicted a photo of  a pagan god, Baphomet, and his profile name was  also in reference to the occult deity.

Parks sent a message to another user on the site that he believed was a young woman, “Amber.” Soon after introductory messages were sent, “Amber” told Parks she was a 14 year-old girl and asked if that was an issue for Parks.

However, the identity behind “Amber” was a Mena Police Officer.

Parks attempted to have nude photos of the 14 year-old sent to him and asked intimate questions and shared explicit desires he had.

He told the “girl” he was looking for a young woman to participate in satanic sexual rituals.

The conversation took place in the late hours of December 21 and early hours of December 22.

Parks asked to meet the “girl” and a meeting was arranged in Mena. Parks continued to message as he was traveling and kept his would-be victim updated on his estimated time of arrival and when he arrived at the meeting location.

Upon his arrival at the meeting location at approximately 2 a.m., Parks was arrested by Mena Police Officers .

Despite the defenses argument that a “meeting” never took place, the jury found him guilty 

Prosecuting Attorney Jason Barrett told jurors that while no evidence of a physical assault would be presented, that evidence of Parks’ actions on the Internet, and enticing and soliciting someone Parks believed to be a child, were still crimes.

“It is common for law enforcement to use a variety of tools,” he said while referencing To Catch a Predator. “The defendant initiated the conversation and made very specific, disturbing request – which were crimes according to our state’s laws.”

Parks, who was 27 at the time of the crime, was sentenced to 20 years for the Class B Felony of Internet Stalking of a Child and a consecutive sentence of 20 years of Class B Felony Computer Child Pornography.

Because Judge Andy Riner was the Prosecuting Attorney on this case when charges were brought, Riner recused himself to allow for a fair trial. Judge Charles Yeargan presided on Park’s case and followed the recommendation of the jury.

The maximum sentence for Internet Stalking of a Child is 40 years or life in prison and the maximum sentence for Computer Child Pornography is not more than 20 years, not less than five years. 

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