A 19-year-old college student from Arlington is suspected of having sexual contact with several minors from the county whom he contacted over the Internet, police said yesterday.
Galen Baughman, who attended Indiana University, was arrested Monday and charged with carnal knowledge of a minor, crimes against nature and using the Internet to facilitate his alleged crimes.
Arlington County police, citing an ongoing investigation, would not say how many possible victims have been located or identify their ages or sex. Department spokesman Matthew Martin said only that detectives have identified more than two victims in their "early to mid-teens" and are continuing to investigate.
"We feel there's a good chance there's a number of victims out there," Martin said. "We're hoping that if anyone knows about inappropriate contact, they'll give us a call."
The investigation, which has involved law enforcement authorities from three states, started in Westchester County, N.Y., this spring when the mother of a 14-year-old boy told authorities that Baughman had sent her son sexually explicit e-mails, Westchester County District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said. Pirro said Baughman and the boy had met at a social gathering.
Pirro said an investigator from her office took over the boy's online identity for about two weeks after studying the teenager's Internet communications in an effort to imitate the 14-year-old's speech patterns and cadence. During that time, Pirro said, Baughman wrote messages requesting "explicit sexual activity" with the boy and sent images of other children engaged in sexual activity.
"He then took it to the next level and said he wanted to meet with this 14-year-old," Pirro said. She said that Baughman was arrested in Indiana April 14 and that authorities seized his computer.
During the investigation in New York, Pirro said, investigators learned that Baughman may have had sexual contact with juveniles in Virginia and contacted Arlington police. Detectives from Arlington's Special Victims Unit opened an investigation in mid-April.
Martin said the incidents of inappropriate contact between Baughman and Virginia teenagers have occurred since January, when Baughman was on break from school or visiting on the weekends. He said Baughman targeted teenagers who were friends or acquaintances of prior victims.
"The way he moved from victim to victim was from personal contact between the victims," Martin said.
Baughman, who is awaiting trial in New York on charges of promoting a sexual performance by a child and attempted dissemination of indecent material to minors, was arrested after he posted bail in Westchester County and returned to Virginia, authorities said. He is being held without bond in the Arlington County Detention Center.