PINAL COUNTY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office announced an arrest Thursday of a Las Vegas man accused of trying to arrange sex with a Valley child.
PCSO says 45-year-old Scott Buckley logged into a social media app last November and began communicating with a child who turned out to be an undercover detective. Investigators say Buckley offered to pay for nude pictures and sex acts with the child and was willing to buy a bus ticket to get the kid to Las Vegas.
Investigators say Buckley admitted to reaching out to minors on social media and having sex with a 16-year-old. He was arrested on Feb. 12 with help from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Casa Grande.
The arrest comes on the heels of a Mesa police operation that put 17 men behind bars for alleged sex crimes including a high school football coach and a child care worker at an elementary school.
“We’re disappointed that there are so many people that are out there paying for sex with children, but we’re really glad law enforcement has come together,” says Kathleen Winn with Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST).
The nonprofit works with law enforcement to protect kids from predators willing to do anything to get a hold of them.
“Sending bus tickets, airplane tickets,” says Winn. “We’ve had several of those recently where someone 18 receives a ticket and gets on a plane. We recovered that girl, but it took us about five days. In the meantime, she was drugged.”
Winn says it’s key for investigators to keep up with online tactics used by predators.
“The police are currently one step ahead of them, but that can always change,” says Winn.
VAST and other advocates fought for years to shut down Backpage. Winn says the next step to preventing predators from reaching kids, is to target websites that have taken its place.
“We really need to understand foreign sites can sell us our own children in our own country,” says Winn. “We need to limit their access.”