Man caught in online sex sting
Michael D. Johnson, 36, of Joliet, Ill., was charged with child enticement, use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime and exposing a child to harmful material after police arrested him in a public parking lot at 9 p.m.
Johnson made contact with Milton Lt. John Conger four months ago. Conger was posing as a 15-year-old girl in a chat room. The conversations evolved to explicit sexual chats and Johnson eventually asked to meet the girl in Milton, Conger told WCLO Radio.
The department received federal and state grant money allowing it to participate in a program focused on online sexual crimes. A Madison man and another Illinois man were the first two suspects arrested this year.
"If somebody from Madison or Chicago is willing to come to Milton to prey on our children, we're going to take that just as seriously as if it's somebody who lives around the corner from them," Conger said.
The department hopes its work will discourage predators from using Milton as a target—though the message doesn't get through to some people, Conger said.
Chat room users often warn that he is a police officer or "Dateline's here," when he introduces himself a 15-year-old girl in the main room.
"At the same time, you're getting three or four instant messages from people who don't believe it's going to happen to them," he said.