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Girl, 12, targeted online by sexual predator
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An Alabama man has been given 120 days in jail and will be forever listed as a sexual predator after he tried to seduce a 12-year-old Warren County girl over the Internet only to find out his indecent proposals were being made to a sheriff’s investigator on the other end of the line.
“I guess he’d be surprised to know that 99 percent of the time he thought he was talking to a little girl, he was actually talking to me,” revealed sheriff’s investigator Jason Rowland of the sting that landed Billy Frank Thomas behind bars. “He was certainly planning to meet with that little girl if given the chance.”
Rowland said Thomas’ goal was not just dirty talk and obscene pictures but it was also to have sex. That plan, Rowland noted, was cut short when the girl reported his actions to an adult who told law enforcement. When meeting online, the girl was deceived by Thomas.
“She thought she was talking to another little girl online until he got her phone number,” Rowland said. “That’s when he revealed himself.”
 Rowland began building a case against the man by continuing text conversations with him, posing as the girl. After a few conversations, Rowland had enough evidence to file charges, but was faced with trying to find the man’s whereabouts and identity. He was able to eventually trace the phone to the suspect’s home in northern Alabama.
While not admitting much about his attempted Internet romance with the 12-year-old girl, Thomas opted to take a deal, avoiding trial on the multiple felonies. He was sentenced by Circuit Court Judge Bart Stanley to serve 120 days of a six-year sentence for solicitation of a minor and sexual exploitation of a minor.