Police say a Grayslake man communicated online with who he thought was a child, sent explicit images to her and then was arrested when tried meeting up with the child for sex acts.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) conducted an investigation into Thomas E. Edwards, Jr., 29, of Grayslake.
Edwards was communicating with an undercover detective online for the past several weeks, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Chief Christopher Covelli.
The detective was posing as a girl under the age of 15.
Lake County Assistant State’s Attorney Francis DeRosa said the communication took place on the Kik app and began in August.
Edwards, who is 29 years old, claimed to be 26 years old while talking to the child, Covelli said.
Edwards began enticing the “child” to meet with him to engage in sexual acts with him, Covelli said.
Edwards also allegedly sent videos to the girl of him engaged in sexual acts.
DeRosa said that Edwards began pushing “very hard” to meet with her.
Covelli said that Edwards on Tuesday drove to meet with the girl to engage in the sexual acts.
Sheriff’s detectives arrested him when he arrived at the arranged location.
Edwards told investigators he was there because he wanted to get away from his infant and pregnant girlfriend, DeRosa said.
The Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office approved charges of traveling to meet a minor, grooming, solicitation to meet a child and dissemination of harmful material.
Elliot Pinsel, Edwards’ attorney, said during a bond hearing Wednesday morning that his client helps take care of his 1-year-old child and has a pregnant girlfriend at home.
Pinsel asked the court to impose a bond of no more than $20,000.
Lake County Judge Theodore Potkonjak ordered Edwards held on a $250,000 bond.
Edwards remains held in the Lake County Jail and would need to post $25,000 cash in order to be released.
He is scheduled to appear in court again on February 16 for a preliminary hearing.