RANDOLPH COUNTY, Ind. — A Randolph County man previously convicted after trying to meet up with who he thought was a teenager will now serve 20 years in federal prison after an investigation that resulted from a child molestation case.
On Friday, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana said Lance Parsons was sentenced to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to the distribution and receipt of child sexual abuse material.
A probable cause affidavit filed in the case said the investigation began while the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department was investigating a reported sexual assault of a child in March 2020. The office got the tip from the Indiana Department of Child Services.
The document states that when Detective Chad Puterbaugh with the department spoke with the victim’s father who said he found inappropriate text messages between his 16-year-old daughter and Parsons.
The teenage girl told police that Parsons molested her while she was asleep at his house. The document said the girl was babysitting his children at the time and was sleeping in a spare bedroom.
When she woke up to the molestation, the document said, she went to the bathroom to get away from him. Later on, she said Parsons tried to touch her while he drove her to work.
In the probable cause affidavit filed in the molestation case, the detective read the message that happened after the reported molestation happened. In it, the document states Parson wrote “Did u get mad when I woke u up lol” before writing “Maybe I’ll wake ya up again lol.”
Police went to arrest Parsons on a warrant for failing to appear on a child support case. He was home after being on the road as a trucker. The document states that when they ordered him to put his hands behind his back, he instead pulled his cell phone from his pocket, throwing it at his wife and telling her to put it up.
The probable cause affidavit in the child sexual abuse material case states that when Detective Puterbaugh told Parsons and his wife that he would be taking the phone as evidence, Parsons became very agitated. He charged toward the detective and shoved him.
The document states that the detective and other officers got Parsons under control after a short struggle and a deputy deployed a taser.
While searching the phone, the document said the detective saw a message between Parsons and someone else that was sexual in nature. It included a photo of a 2-year-old girl that Parsons personally knew.
The detective saw a message from a Kik user asking if Parsons touched the girl, to which the document states he replied that he had. After seeing this message thread, along with a phone that depicted two children in a state of nudity, the detective applied for a second search warrant.
The document states this second search uncovered multiple conversations between Parsons and other Kik and Mega Application users where he received depictions of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Further search revealed that Parsons distributed child sex abuse material to other Kik users. The plea agreement states that a Secret Service officer also found sexually explicit photos of the 2-year-old girl.
When Parsons went to be sentenced after pleading guilty to the distribution and receipt of child sexual abuse material, the judge found that he had engaged in a pattern of activity involving the sexual abuse or exploitation of children. This includes a 2017 conviction after he tried to meet up with who he thought was a teenage girl.
A probable cause affidavit filed in that 2017 case states that he was messaging who he thought was a 15-year-old girl on Facebook. During the conversations, he made plans to meet with the girl at a Walmart to have sex.
When Parsons arrived at the store and got out of his semi, officers met Parsons and took him into custody. During an interview at the jail, the document states Parsons said he knew he was probably there for talking with the young girl, and felt that he was lured into the situation. He said he was only at Walmart to use the restroom.
In the 2017 case, Parsons was convicted of attempted sexual misconduct with a minor. A trial date is set for February 2023 for the 2020 child molestation case.