A Birch Tree man featured in a viral video posted on Facebook by Truckers Against Predators (TAP) has been charged with enticement of a child, or attempt, after allegedly messaging a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl, then arranging to pick her up in Strafford so he could take her home as his girlfriend and eventually have sex with her.
Richard W. Holford III, 34, was instead met by Anthony Greene of TAP, a citizen group with the stated goal of catching child sexual predators. The members of the group sometimes pose as children on social media and gather evidence of a suspect’s interest in a sexual relationship and arrange meetings, filming and posting the meetings on social media.
Holford is held in the Shannon County Jail on $50,000 bail, according to court documents.
Shannon County Deputy Dustin Lyon, in documents submitted to prosecutors, reported that on Friday, he was made aware of a live video stream posted by TAP on Facebook involving Holford, during which Holford is accused of attempting to meet up with a 13-year-old named “Lola,” who was instead an adult posing as an underage girl.
Lyon spoke with David Pelto of TAP and was provided with text messages allegedly sent between Holford and “Lola,” which made clear she was a few weeks younger than age 14 but was “mature for her age,” and that she had to “grow up fast.”
Holford also reportedly sent a picture of his genitals during the exchange of messages, with “Lola” replying she hadn’t seen that part of a male's anatomy before. The same day Lyon spoke with Holford, who called the sheriff’s department and stated he wanted to clear his name because he was getting threatened over the Facebook video and someone had “misunderstood what he said.”
However, when asked if he had everything on his phone regarding the conversations, Holford reportedly told Lyon he deleted them because he had to get rid of evidence. When Lyon interviewed Holford later that day, Holford allegedly first said he believed “Lola” was 22 years old, but later admitted he knew she was only 13, and that his plan was to pick her up the day before to move her to Birch Tree as his girlfriend and to teach her to have sex with him.
Holford also reportedly stated he didn’t do anything wrong, since “Lola” didn’t show up to the meeting.