Accused of trying online to seduce a 15-year-old girl to sleep with him in his Jeep, a 24-year-old Rock Springs man faces up to 12 years in prison.
But the girl was never real. She was a police officer’s undercover social media persona.
The Sweetwater County Attorney’s office has charged Michael Nelson with one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children. If convicted, he faces between five and 12 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
He pleaded not guilty May 18.
Not Actually A Girl
Rock Springs Police Department Detective Matthew Jones on May 3 sent a friend request to Nelson on Facebook, while Jones was representing himself as a 15-year-old girl using the undercover Facebook account.
Nelson started messaging the “girl” that day, according to an evidentiary affidavit in the case. He asked how old the girl was, and “she” told him she was 15.
Nelson said he’s 24. He asked to see “more pictures” than what the account showed and he provided his Snapchat contact information May 5.
Jones added Nelson to the undercover snapchat account, still posing as a girl.
In The Jeep
Nelson informed the “girl” that he’s a 24-year-old man with a high sex drive, and he’s “always down” for action, the affidavit alleges. He acknowledged that the “girl” was 15, “but if it happens, it happens.”
Nelson said he had sex with a 15-year-old when he was 21, the affidavit claims.
Then he allegedly asked the “girl” if she wanted to have car sex and said that they could do it in his Jeep.
The “girl” told Nelson he must bring a condom for that.
The affidavit says Nelson told the girl he was going to kiss her, make out with her and have sex with her. He described various sex acts he planned to do with her.
Right Across From The Burger Place
The pair made plans to meet up at the parking lot across from a burger joint in Rock Springs.
Police watched a gray-colored Jeep, allegedly matching Nelson’s Facebook photos of his Jeep, pull into that parking lot.
Nelson messaged the “girl” that he was “here,” the affidavit says.
Officers arrested him.
A “search incident” during the arrest revealed a condom in his right front pocket.
Nelson’s trial is set to begin 9 a.m. Sept. 11.
Reach Clair McFarland at Clair@CowboyStateDaily.com