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Cops: Man Trekked 350 Miles to Meet 'Underage Girl'

Except the person Tommy Lee Jenkins allegedly wanted to meet was an undercover investigator
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2019 9:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – The distance between Whitestown, Ind., and Neenah, Wis., is just over 350 miles—not usually a distance one would want to travel mostly on foot. That apparently didn't faze Tommy Lee Jenkins, however, as he allegedly thought a 14-year-old girl was waiting for him for possible sex. What was really waiting for the 32-year-old on Oct. 10 in Wisconsin's Winnebago County: an arrest, as the girl was actually an undercover cop, the Oshkosh Northwestern reports. The Washington Post lays out the online relationship Jenkins and "Kaylee Marie" allegedly started on Oct. 1, including instant messages in which the supposed teen revealed she was 14 and liked to drink, and which soon became explicit, per a police affidavit. On Oct. 6, the affidavit notes, "Kaylee" agreed to have Jenkins come to Wisconsin to get her—and he messaged her he'd started walking.

It's not clear how much Jenkins actually walked, but he sent "Kaylee" pics as he made his journey, authorities say; they add he also sent a message saying he wanted to have 500 kids with her. Local cops and the FBI arrested him when he got to Winnebago County. Jenkins had previously pleaded no contest to child abuse and was sentenced to four years of probation after two young boys told police in 2011 that Jenkins had molested them. "Our nation faces an epidemic of child sexual abuse, with the internet making it too easy for predators to communicate with children across the country," US Attorney Matthew Krueger says in a statement. Jenkins faces charges of using a computer to attempt to persuade, induce, or entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity, which could bring at least 10 years and up to life in prison if convicted. He's set to appear in court on Oct. 23, per KMOV. (Read more pedophile stories.)

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