Sex offender jailed over online chat attempt with his victim

Kik social chat app used to contact victim

INDIANAPOLIS - A convicted sex offender has been sent back to jail, accused of using his neighbor's Internet connection and a mobile social networking app to reach out to his teenage victim.

The new arrest was prompted by a routine search of the sex offender's trailer near West 21st Street and North Raceway Road on the west side of Indianapolis earlier this month.

Police said they found he had asked a friend to set up an account on Kik, a mobile chat platform, so that he could reach out to his 15-year-old victim.

Probation officers were conducting a standard search of 26-year-old Shawn Piercefield's home on Emily Sue Court to make sure he was complying with terms of his probation.

Court records show he is under probation restrictions after being convicted on a felony count of soliciting a child, who is now 15 years old.

His probation bars him from owning a computer or accessing the Internet, but probation officers said their search of his bedroom turned up a black HTC phone in a black case near the spot where Piercefield slept.

Piercefield's probation identification card was tucked into the case with the phone, police said.

As officers started scrolling through the mobile phone, they wrote in their report that they discovered Piercefield had been logging onto the Internet by "stealing Wi-Fi from his neighbor."

Police then found a text conversation on the phone, in which Piercefield is accused of asking a friend to set up a false account on the Kik mobile messaging app so that he could reach out and contact his 15-year-old victim.

The friend responded to the text by agreeing to set up that Kik account, but police said they were not yet sure whether he actually used the account to contact his teenage victim.

Typically, courts bar anyone convicted of a sex crime from contacting the victim, even after the court case has concluded.

Marion County court records indicate he was arrested on the original charges of soliciting a child and vicarious sexual gratification back in August.   

He pleaded guilty to the felony count of child solicitation in December, resulting in a suspended four-year prison term.

A suspended prison sentence means the convict is placed on probation, but he can be sent to prison for the entire duration of his original sentence if he violates that probation.

Piercefield is locked up with no bond and set to face a judge on Wednesday for a violation of probation hearing.  He could be ordered to serve his full prison sentence, or he could be allowed to continue his probation with additional restrictions.

The Call 6 Investigators reported in November on the growing number of children being lured by adults using the Kik social networking app.

An Indianapolis mother discovered her mentally disabled daughter using Kik to chat with an adult man in his 20s, using a phone she wasn't even supposed to own.

Kik now boasts 100 million users of its service, which allows chats between smartphones.
 

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