Man arrested after teen reports sexually-explicit text messages

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A 14-year-old girl may have saved herself from being sexually assaulted when she told her school resource officer about explicit text messages she was receiving. They came from an older man she had met at the library several months before.

At the Roy library, parents like Marie Bybee trust their children will be safe at all times. But if something happens, Bybee expects her son to tell someone. "I do, and I hope he'll go and tell the right authorities," she said.

That's what a 14-year-old girl did this month, resulting in the arrest of 27-year-old Derek Thomas Horne. Police say he and the 14-year-old met face-to-face at the Roy City Library last summer, then detectives say he started sending explicit messages to her MySpace page and her cell phone.

"He groomed her to a point where he felt comfortable in giving her messages and asking for things, sexually, that were totally inappropriate," said Roy Police Chief Gregory Whinham.

The girl told her school's resource officer. Police then found and arrested Horne at the Roy library. "This is a predator, in my view," Whinham said.

When police caught Horne, detectives say he admitted to them he knew what he was doing was wrong. He also thanked them for catching him because he needed help. "It is scary, and it just lets us know our kids need to be educated," Whinham said.

That is why Roy police spend so much time at schools: to let children know they can trust their resource officer. "It paid off, because usually we're there after a horrific tragedy occurred in a young person's life," Whinham said.

Horne was taken to jail, charged with enticing a minor over the Internet.

Police say the girl did the right thing in reporting something she didn't feel right about. They also say it's not a bad idea to have this conversation with your children as soon as possible.


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Alex Cabrero


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