An Amish man who sent hundreds of sexually explicit text messages to a 12-year-old girl was caught in an undercover sting last week when he drove a horse and buggy to an Indiana restaurant where he had planned to meet the girl.
Willard Yoder, 21, is facing four felony counts for allegedly soliciting sex from the minor. Yoder is free on $20,000 bond, ABC reports.
In one text, Yoder told the girl that, “the proposed sex act would happen inside the buggy,” according to a Connersville Police Department report.
Yoder says he first sent a text to the girl “by chance.” When the girl’s parents found out about the text message, they took control of the cellphone and continued to communicate with Yoder, who sent about 600 texts to the girl, as well as nude photos and explicit videos.
The parents then contacted the police, who took over the sting operation and arranged last Wednesday’s meeting at the Takehome Restaurant in Milroy, Ind. Yoder later told police he thought he was going to have sex with the girl in the buggy that night.
When he was busted outside the restaurant, Yoder was cooperative with police and “walked his horse and buggy around the building and tied it to a post outside.”
Yoder told police that he “realized that it was a bad decision and had never done anything like this before.”
Kenny Ossen, director of communications for Social Shield, a company that helps parents track their kids’ online activity on all social networking sites, says this is the first time that he has ever heard of an incident like this in the Amish community.
“But sexting is now a big deal, across all geographic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds,” Ossen says.
The Amish, like many traditional churches, teach that sex outside of marriage is not acceptable. During Rumspringa, a period of adolescence for some members of the Amish community, teenagers separate from the community to decide if they want to baptized and fully embrace Amish adulthood. It is unclear whether Yoder was going through this period, but if was, he would have had more liberties than usual.