On Friday, February 23rd, a Portsmouth local named Paul Bussler was arrested on charges of solicitation. Bussler traveled to Ashland, Kentucky to meet a 14-year old girl he had been messaging over social media.
Bussler had been messaging the girl since the 19th and was hoping to have intercourse with her, but when he arrived, he was met with quite the surprise.
Instead of a teenage girl, it turns out that Bussler had been messaging an undercover police officer. This was an attempt by the Ashland police force to proactively prevent sexual assault and molestation of minors by posing as underage girls on social media.
When Bussler arrived at Ashland Riverfront Park at 4:26 p.m, he was promptly arrested and taken into police custody.
On Monday, Bussler went to court with the charge of using an electronic communication system to procure a minor. This felony charge could land Bussler up to five years in prison and registration as a sex offender.
The operation that led to Bussler’s arrest was conducted by the Ashland City Police and supported by The Kentucky Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The task force also works with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to run a CyberTipLine dedicated to child abuse.
The CyberTipLine can be reached at 1-800-843-5678 and is invaluable for helping prevent crimes like those Bussler planned to commit.