ST. GEORGE — A Cedar City man is accused of trying to meet with and have sex with a 13-year-old girl in Parowan.
Instead of meeting the teen, however, Ryan Leandro Lopez, 20, was arrested by police officers and charged with a felony for rape of a child on Friday, according to court documents.
The sting was part of an ongoing investigation into child sex predators by the Parowan Police Department that started last winter, Police Chief Ken Carpenter said.
The sting against Lopez started Aug. 25, when he allegedly started talking online to a female confidential informant who was working with the Parowan Police Department. Their conversations, which were described as being sexual in nature, were on a website for people with different fetishes, as well as a couple of different messaging apps on cell phones so Lopez could conceal his phone number, according to the probable cause statement.
During the conversations, Lopez and the confidential informant allegedly discussed letting him have sex with her 13-year-old daughter. On Friday evening, the suspect drove to the TA truck stop in Parowan, where he had agreed to meet with the confidential informant.
She asked Lopez if he was OK having sex with a 13-year-old. When the suspect allegedly said he was OK having sex with a 13-year-old, he was promptly arrested and booked into the Iron County Jail without incident by Parowan Police officers who were in the area, Carpenter said.
After being read his Miranda rights, police say Lopez admitted to coming to Parowan to have sex with the 13-year-old girl. He was released Monday from the Iron County Jail on a $25,000 bail.
The child sex sting operation will continue in Parowan as long as people keep trying to talk with the confidential informant about having sex with children, Carpenter said.
The joint criminal operation is being conducted by the Parowan Police Department, Iron County Sheriff’s Office, Iron County Attorney’s Office, Iron-Garfield-Beaver Narcotics Task Force, Homeland Security Investigation, Utah Highway Patrol and Veterans for Child Rescue.
“As evident by this particular arrest, there’s still people out there that are still reaching out to (the confidential informant),” Carpenter said.
This report is based on statements from police and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
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