Lisbon man arrested in underage sex police sting - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Lisbon man arrested in underage sex police sting

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LISBON, Ohio -

A Lisbon man has been caught up in an undercover sex sting where an Austintown Police Officer posed as a 15-year-old boy.

Police Lt. Jeff Solic tells 21 News that officers placed an ad in the “men seeking men” personals ad section of the online classified website Backpage.com.

Lt. Solic said when someone responded to the phone number in the ad, the undercover officer told the caller that he was a 15-year-old boy.

The two agreed to meet at a fast food restaurant on State Route 45 in Lisbon and when 36-year-old Matthew Earl arrived he was arrested.

According to the police report, Earl admitted sending graphic text messages to the person he thought was a teenage boy. Police say he also confessed to talking “dirty” in an attempt to lure the teen into meeting with him.

Austintown police have conducted stings in the past focusing on Backpage.com, but in those instances, officers have answered ads posted by suspected prostitutes.

In this latest arrest, it was the police who posted the ad.

Earl is scheduled to appear in court on Monday to answer charges of importuning and possessing criminal tools.

State law defines importuning as soliciting a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexual conduct.

Police consider cell phones used in criminal matters to be criminal tools.

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