SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A small-town mayor and church pastor was in jail Monday on charges of soliciting sex over the Internet from a police detective posing as a 13-year-old girl.
Allen Kauffman, 63, was arrested Friday on four counts of felony enticement of a child in the latest sting orchestrated by a police detective in another southwest Missouri town, Diamond.
Prosecutors alleged in court filings that Kauffman believed he was communicating with a 13-year-old girl from the Joplin area in a Yahoo chat room last November and December. In online messages, Kauffman allegedly asked the girl for sex and for nude pictures and encouraged her to have sex with a girlfriend in front of a Webcam so Kauffman could watch.
"He very much believed he was talking to a 13-year-old girl," Diamond Police Chief Keith Brumfield said.
Messages were left Monday with Kauffman's attorney, Mel Gilbert, who sought reduction of Kauffman's $50,000 bond. A phone message left at Kauffman's home was not returned.
A hearing was not immediately scheduled.
Kauffman is mayor of Collins, a town of about 200 people in St. Clair County about 50 miles northwest of Springfield. He is married and serves as a pastor of the Temple Lot Church in Collins, Diamond police said.
It was the latest in a series of online sex stings by Diamond police Detective Jim Murray, a retired chief of the force he now works for. His investigations have led to 20 arrests, more than half of which have resulted in prison time for adult men convicted of soliciting sex from Murray's online character, Brumfield said. The other cases are pending.
Murray, 69, typically poses as a 13-year-old girl in chat rooms and waits for others to make sexual advances.
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