Sex offender caught in Pablo
PABLO — According to a press release, police arrested Lawrence R. Mays Jr., a 22-year-old male with ties to Ronan and Pablo, on a $75,000 Missoula City warrant for two counts of sexual abuse of children.
The arrest warrant was investigated and carried out by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Tribal Law and Order, the United States Marshal’s Office, Missoula City Police and the Department of Criminal Investigation’s Sexual and Violent Offender Compliance Officers on Oct. 2.
Mays was apprehended at a Pablo residence, seen in the Lake County Justice Court, held on a $75,000 bond, and transported to the Missoula County Detention Center.
According to Missoula Internet Crimes Officer Chris Shermer, the offense originated when a 13-year-old Missoula female began to correspond with Mays via text messages. As the case is still under investigation, officials would not release information regarding how Mays got the 13-year-old’s contact information. However, Shermer stressed that he believed the circumstances under which Mays obtained the child’s phone number were not henious enough to warrant a release of additional information. If the method posed a risk to other families, he would have released the information to parents in the area.
The underage female’s mother went through her daughter’s cell phone and found a text conversation with Mays. Mays had reportedly sent the 13-year-old several pictures of his genitalia.
Rather than contacting Mays directly, the mother went to police and asked for help.
“She did the right thing,” Shermer said. “Most parents would contact the individual directly and scare him off. By coming to us, she gave us a better chance (to apprehend Mays).”
Over the course of several weeks, Shermer adopted the imaginary persona of the original victim’s 14-year-old cousin. Shermer said Mays was aware that the females he was speaking to were 13 and 14 years old.
During his correspondence with Mays, Shermer said Mays sent more pictures of Mays’ genitalia, adult pornographic images, and, “some more really bad stuff.” Mays also described, in detail, sexual scenarios and scenes he might engage in with the girls.
“Sex was talked about quite a bit through the weeks,” Shermer said. “It’s a weird world out there.”
Officers set a time and place for Mays to meet up with Shermer’s imagined persona, but Mays never showed up. Even so, officers took the text conversations and other evidence collected against Mays to a Missoula City judge and asked for a warrant for Mays’ arrest. He was arrested without incident.
Lake County Sexual and Violent Offender Compliance Officer John Todd said when it comes to children, the office’s main goal is safety.
“It’s imperative that the community is aware that these people are being checked on,” Todd said. “We do know where they’re at, and that they’re in compliance with state and federal regulations.
“It’s actually a good thing to get (Mays) off the street, as far as the crimes that he’s been accused of.”