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FBI investigating ex-ROTC worker; misconduct alleged

FBI investigating ex-ROTC worker; misconduct alleged

Posted: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:03 pm

A Trenton man who formerly worked as a contract employee with the ROTC program at a local university is being investigated by the FBI for accusations involving a 14-year-old girl and the Internet.
Joseph Allen Spellings, 29, faces accusations of transferring obscene material to a minor under the age of 16 and using interstate “Internet Instant Messages” to attempt to persuade, induce, entice or coerce a female under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity, according to a complaint filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The incidents allegedly occurred between last month and earlier this month.
An affidavit filed by Mem-phis FBI Crimes Against Children Task Force special agent Stephen K. Lies indicates the Trenton Police Department received an initial complaint March 11 from a Trenton woman who expressed concern when her 14-year-old daughter was allegedly contacted over the Internet by Spellings, who was known to the family.
From March 10 through April 8, Spellings allegedly communicated over the Internet using MySpace.com and Gmail.com with the girl and with undercover agents posing as the 14-year-old girl.
During the conversations, he allegedly discussed trading nude photos with the girl and allegedly sent photos of exposed male genitals, according to the affidavit.
Between April 6 and April 8, an agent posing as the 14-year-old communicated with Spellings over the MySpace.com Internet site, where Spellings allegedly discussed having sexual contact with the minor persona and allegedly set up a meeting. According to the affidavit, he indicated he would be alone since his wife was out of town, discussed how long the teenager could be out before he had to get her home so as not to alarm her mother and allegedly arranged to pick up the girl at a park in Trenton and take her back to his house to engage in a sexual act.
Spellings was formerly a contract employee with the ROTC program at the University of Tennessee at Martin and was either paid by the Army or the National Guard and not the university, according to University Relations, which also confirmed he is no longer employed with the program there.
Published in The Messenger 4.28.10

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