A northern Colorado man faces federal child sex charges following an Internet sting operation in which a law enforcement agent says the man agreed to pay $200 to have sex with and photograph a 12-year-old girl at a Cheyenne motel.
A criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Cheyenne on Monday alleges that John Scott Pinkerton, 57, of Pierce responded to an advertisement that a law enforcement agent had placed on the Internet classifieds site Craigslist.
The complaint says the state Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce agent ran an ad on Craigslist under the heading, “Traveling Dad.”
“Showing my bros offspring this wonderful state with so much opportunity for learning,” the ad read. “We are from the south and have never been to the west before but her and I are open to meet new people.”
A response came back on July 2 from a person using the screen name, “Scott,” the complaint states.
“I’d be glad to assist you and your neice (sic) in any way I can,” the response stated in part. “Very respectful of any limits you set but open to most anything except pain.”
The complaint says the agent posing as the girl’s uncle said he needed gas money and the exchange eventually spelled out what sexual activity the girl would be subjected to in exchange for the payment.
“I’d like to take pics of her if I can,” it quotes Pinkerton as saying. “Just depends on her willingness, the more willing the more gas money.”
Officers kept Pinkerton under surveillance on July 3, when he drove from his home in Pierce, Colo., north to Cheyenne, the complaint states. Officers arrested him at a local motel.
“Upon his arrest, Pinkerton was found to be in possession of $200 in twenty dollar bills and a digital camera,” the complaint states. It says Pinkerton agreed to an interview with the agent after his arrest.
“During the course of the interview, Pinkerton admitted that he was the individual that had an email conversation related to traveling to Cheyenne to meet a 12 year old female,” for the purpose of engaging in sex, the complaint states. He said he had intended to take pictures of the girl naked and was carrying cash to pay for the encounter.
Prosecutors have charged Pinkerton with attempted sexual exploitation of a child and online solicitation of a minor. Pinkerton is in custody and faces a detention hearing before a federal magistrate in Cheyenne on Thursday.
Court records don’t reflect that Pinkerton has an attorney yet. John Powell, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne, said Tuesday the office had no comment on the pending case.