Man charged with sex offense Resident arrested for Internet attempt to meet 14-year-old

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 6, 2004

A Shelby County man faces federal prosecution for trying to meet a 14-year-old girl he contacted over the Internet for sex.

Michael Lamont Crockett, 32, was charged with using a computer to attempt to entice a child to meet him for illegal sex acts, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Crockett was charged in a one-count indictment filed Dec. 30, 2003, in U.S. District Court of Birmingham.

Crockett faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and the Birmingham Police Department investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Phillips is prosecuting the case. Crockett’s arraignment in U.S. District Court of Birmingham is set for Jan. 15.

Phillips said Crockett faces a federal charge because any use of the Internet during a crime constitutes interstate commerce.

Phillips said undercover agents posing as a 14-year-old girl led to the charges against Crockett.

According to Phillips, Crockett was arrested after he attempted to meet the girl.

&uot;He showed up to meet her and was arrested,&uot; Phillips said.

Investigators are still working to determine whether Crockett had previously met minors for sex, Phillips said.

Phillips, a father of three, said he recommends that parents do not allow their children to use the Internet unless they are present.

The FBI’s website features tips for families to help keep children safe on the Internet. Here are some tips parents may want to follow:

What are signs that your child might be at risk on-line?

1. Your child spends large amounts of time on-line, especially at night.

2. You find pornography on your child’s computer.

3. Your child receives phone calls from people you do not know or is making calls, sometimes long distance, to numbers you do not recognize.

4. Your child receives mail, gifts or packages from someone you don’t know.

5. Your child turns the computer monitor off or quickly changes the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.

6. Your child becomes withdrawn from the family.

7. Your child is using an on-line account belonging to someone else.

Immediately contact local or state law agencies if any of the following occur:

1. Your child or anyone in the household receives child pornography.

2. Your child is sexually solicited by someone who knows your child is under 18 years old.

3. Your child receives sexually explicit images from someone who knows your child is under 18.

What should you do if you suspect your child is communicating with a

sexual predator on-line?

1. Consider talking openly with your child about your suspicions. Tell them about the dangers of computer-sex offenders.

2. Review what is on your child’s computer. If you don’t know how, ask a friend, co-worker, relative or other knowledgeable person. Pornography or any kind of sexual communication can be a warning sign.

3. Use the Caller ID service to determine who is calling