Crime

Indiana man accused of traveling to Kansas for sex with 13-year-old boy at hotel

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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

When Zachary Stinson was arrested in Ohio, accused of having sexual contact with a minor, his seized cellphone indicated he may have communicated with other teenagers, investigators said.

The local sheriff’s office asked the FBI for help. His phone led agents to an IP address in Leavenworth, Kansas.

Stinson, 36, of Bluffton, Indiana, has since been federally charged with traveling in July 2017 to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 13-year-old boy in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

In June 2018, the FBI in Cincinnati sent an agent to Kansas City to interview the minor, whose mother confirmed his identity through photos. She indicated the images were taken at her home and her father’s residence, court records show.

Stinson allegedly picked the boy up from his grandfather’s home and drove him to a nearby hotel, where he performed sexual acts on the minor, according to charging documents filed earlier this month in the U.S. District Court in Kansas.

He also sent the boy explicit photos and videos of himself engaging in sexual activity with other minors, prosecutors said.

In a follow-up interview, the boy told federal agents that Stinson took sexual photographs of him at his grandfather’s home, according to a special agent assigned to the FBI’s child exploitation task force in Kansas City.

Deputies in Warren County, Ohio, about 30 miles northeast of Cincinnati, arrested Stinson in February 2018 for unlawful conduct with a minor.

Months later, the U.S. attorney’s office in southern Ohio charged Stinson with child pornography production, two counts of transportation of minors, traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual contact and transferring obscene materials to minors.

His phone revealed a message with a reference to Stinson taking the Kansas boy’s virginity, records show. His Priceline.com account reflected hotel stays in Kansas and Missouri in July and October 2017 as well as financial transactions there, authorities said.

Stinson faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted of the charge filed in Kansas. That charge will be transferred to Ohio, a representative of the Southern District of Ohio said.

A public defender listed in court records as representing Stinson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The FBI became involved in the investigation after police in Wyoming, Ohio, took a report in February 2018 that accused Stinson of entering through a window months earlier to engage in sexual acts with a 13-year-old boy.

Investigators later found an account they think was used by Stinson to solicit young males in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, according to court records. He created a post on a sexting website that investigators claimed was titled: “Looking For Twink In Midwest Usa.”

Stinson remained Thursday at the Butler County Jail in Ohio as he awaits trial.

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