62-year-old man arrested after allegedly trying to meet teen for - WDRB 41 Louisville News

62-year-old man arrested after allegedly trying to meet teen for sex at Salem, Ind. fairgrounds

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Ronald Lynch (Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office) Ronald Lynch (Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office)

SALEM, Ind. (WDRB) -- Police say a man was rolling the dice by texting random phone numbers to try to find a child he could prey on. Investigators say the way they caught the man, was bizarre. "I guess a lucky break and just ironic that he texted an employee here," said Washington County Indiana Sheriff Roger Newlon. 

Newlon explained that one of the phone numbers 62-year-old Ronald Lynch texted, just so happened to belong to a Washington County Indiana corrections officer, who is a grown man. "And the employee could've just brushed it off, told him wrong number and told him who it was, but he didn't," said Newlon.

Newlon says red flags were raised for the officer when the unknown number kept pushing. "And (the suspect) was real persistent on, 'are you a boy or girl?' And it kind of indicates that he was looking for a young female," said Newlon.

The jail officer played along. "He started representing himself as a 15 year old female, and the guy didn't back off. It seemed to fuel the fire, or multiply the text messages," said Newlon.

Police say Lynch sent the jail officer hundreds of text messages since Sunday, many of them sexually explicit. "He wasn't going to stop until this person he thought was a 15 year old female agreed to meet with him," said Newlon.

Police say Lynch drove about 30 miles from his home in Seymour to the fairgrounds in Salem Thursday morning. An adult female employee was waiting for Lynch at a picnic table. Police say Lynch had texted that he wanted to have the girl get in his vehicle. Police had the jail officer persuade the man to meet at a picnic table to talk, first. "We didn't want her to get in that car, but he really wanted to have her get in and go somewhere else, and that would be real scary," said Newlon.

Police were hiding inside animal barns at the fairgrounds.They say when Lynch walked towards the woman, they made their move and arrested him for child solicitation. "He was shocked. very shocked, almost, I thought he was going to go down on us." 

People who live in Salem are shocked, too. "It's beyond words," said Denise Newkirk, director of Salem Parks and Recreation. "Adults, children, parents, just have to realize that these predators are out here and they have to be straightforward with their children, regardless of age. You don't want to make children afraid, yet you want to make them aware."" said Newkirk. 

Police say Lynch has minor charges from decades ago, but nothing like this. "I don't know if it's happened in the past, but the way he operated this morning, I don't think it would've been the last time. Our goal was to get him," said Newlon.

Lynch faces 2-12 years in prison if convicted. He is in the Washington County jail on a $10,000 full cash bond.

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