Suspected child-lurer messaged ‘teen’ on Facebook: officer

Rosie
Rosie Mullaley
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An undercover RNC officer told a St. John’s judge Friday that he had posted a fake Facebook profile of a 14-year-old girl just three weeks before Sean Patrick Mills made contact.

Sean Patrick Mills was in provincial court in St. John’s Monday for the start of his trial on child luring charges. — Photo by Rosie Mullaley/The Telegram

“Good Lord! For having just one picture on Facebook, you sure picked a good one. Beautiful!” the message said, according to Sgt. Greg Hobbs.

Hobbs was the first to take the stand in the opening day of Mills’ trial Monday at provincial court in St. John’s.

The 31-year-old from Paradise has pleaded not guilty to four charges of child luring for a sexual purpose using a computer. Two of the charges relate to children younger than 16, while two others relate to children younger than 18.

However, the children were actually undercover RNC officers posing as young girls on Facebook and Hotmail.

The offences are said to have occurred between March 20 and May 22, 2012.

Hobbs had been working in the child exploitation unit in early 2012 and was posing as a teen on Internet sites at the time as part of the investigation.

He told the court that he created the teen’s Facebook profile on Feb. 28, 2012. He said Mills sent the message March 20, 2012.

Shortly after Hobbs began his testimony, defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan objected, citing issues regarding Mills’ identity on the site.

Judge David Orr agreed to have the rest of trial held as a voir dire — or trial within a trial — until the issue is settled. Evidence from a voir dire is banned from publication.

The trial is set for three days.

Mills is not in custody, having been released shortly after his arrest.

rmullaley@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TelyCourt

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