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January 27, 2012 06:05 PM

Airman Accused Of Soliciting Aberdeen Girl

Aberdeen, SD


Investigators in Aberdeen are sorting through a case where they say a 21-year-old airman drove across the state to meet up with a 13-year-old girl he met online.

Samuel Seeley faces charges of sexual exploitation of a minor and solicitation of a minor.

Seeley was at the Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City and drove all the way to Aberdeen to meet the 13-year-old. But the child told her family who told police who were waiting for the 21-year-old when he arrived.

Chief deputy states attorney Lori Ehlers calls details of the case against Seeley disturbing. Not only is the victim 13 years old, but Seeley is accused of driving more than 300 miles to see her.

"It was somehow online they connected and then they were using web cams and chat," Ehlers said.

That has become more common with the rise of technology. Aberdeen police have added another officer to specifically combat that problem.

Detective Tom Tarnowski has been investigating this case and reminds parents to be aware of what their children are doing online.

"Our perpetrators used to be somebody that would have to actually target the children in person and search for the children in person. Now they're able to get online and start relationships with the children online that at first can seem like something innocent and later turn into something else," Tarnowski said.

Tarnowski urges parents to learn about the technology their kids are using and know what it's capable of doing. He also says parents need to keep an open dialogue with their kids so their children will report something out of the ordinary.

It's family members finding out in this case that led to police waiting for an accused perpetrator instead of a 13-year-old girl.

"It's definitely something I probably didn't deal with a lot when I started nine years ago in this office but I deal with a lot now," Ehlers said.

Seeley is being held at the Brown County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
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