Ex-ROTC instructor indicted on charges involving teenager
Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010 9:06 pm
By: Chris Menees, Staff Reporter
By CHRIS MENEES
A federal grand jury has indicted a former Uni-versity of Tennessee at Martin ROTC instructor investigated for accusations involving a 14-year-old girl and the Internet.
Joseph Allen Spellings, 29, of Trenton has been indicted on two separate counts of allegedly using a computer and cell phone to send obscene images to the girl, according to the indictment.
Sources have indicated he is free on bond and was recently ordered by a federal judge to remain on house arrest.
Spellings was taken into custody in late April by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in connection with incidents that allegedly occurred between March and April.
According to a complaint filed by the FBI, he was accused 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.
An affidavit filed by Memphis FBI Crimes Against Children Task Force special agent Stephen K. Lies indicated 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 set up a meeting.
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 5.20.10