"Highly sexual" Craigslist conversations lead to arrest in Lebanon
Newbury, NH man faces human trafficking charges
LEBANON, NH - Lebanon Police say that a 58-year-old Newbury, New Hampshire man who was arrested Tuesday in a parking lot outside an apartment complex in Lebanon had allegedly been expecting to have a sexual encounter there with a 15-year-old girl.
Instead, Richard Byrne was taken into custody and charged with felony counts of attempted trafficking in persons and prohibited uses of computer services. He was transported to the Grafton House of Corrections where bail was set at $20,000 and he is due in court on Wednesday for formal arraignment on the charges.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Lebanon Police Chief Richard Mello said that Byrne's arrest came at the culmination of a week's long investigation into alleged child victimization schemes being carried out over social media, with the initial contact alleged in Byrne's case having occurred on the popular Craigslist site.
Chief Mello noted that the Lebanon Police Department is an affiliate of the New Hampshire Internet
Crimes against Children Task Force and he said some of his specially trained officers began a series of on-line conversations with a male "who thought he was meeting a 15-year-old female."
"The conversations were highly sexual in nature and (Byrne) made arrangements to travel to Lebanon to meet the underage female for a sexual encounter," at which point he was arrested, the statement said.
Newbury is a small village on the southern tip of Lake Sunapee.