By Bonnie Davidson
The Courier 

The Sex Sting: Why?

Local Man, 25, Seemed Normal, But He Faces Child Sex Abuse Charge

 


He's described as a good student, quiet, respectful and polite. But a 2007 Glasgow graduate found himself in handcuffs on Friday, Oct. 10, as agents with the Montana Department of Justice's Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) arrested Steven Unger, along with John Parker, of Watford City, N.D.

It came to a shock to some locals to see Unger in the spotlight across the state. Unger participated in band in high school. Glasgow High School Music Teacher Brad Persinger explained that this seemed like a “normal” student. He comes from a solid family and never showed signs of trouble. He has no record in Valley County, or through Glasgow Police Department. The question people have been asking is, why?

Unger, 25, along with Parker, 37, are facing a charge of sexual abuse of children. DCI agents placed an ad on Craigslist and Backpage.com, advertising prostitution. They told suspects facing charges that the females would be 13 and 15 years old. They then made arrangements to meet in Glendive. The sting probably left the suspects shocked as they were taken into jail and held at Dawson County Correctional Facility. Unger was released on a $75,000 bond, parker was reported in a press release as still in the facility.


Attorney General Tim Fox sent out a press release explaining that this sting was a part of the state's push to stop human trafficking. Stating that children as young as 12 are finding themselves used in prostitution and victims of sexual exploitation. He stated that he wanted to pass a SAVE (Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation) Act to shut down websites like Backpage.com. This would be a federal act to attempt to stop sex trafficking. Montana would be one of 52 states and territories who are in support of the act.

The bust in Glendive was a collaborative effort with Dawson County Undersheriff Ross Canen, Glendive Police Chief Ty Ulrich, the Billings Police Department, Flathead, Dawson and Blaine County Sheriff's Offices, Montana's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Montana Gambling Control Division, North Dakota's Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

Fox stated in his press release that nearly 300,000 American youths are at risk to become victims and the Internet has become a means to advertise human trafficking. Children and women are advertised easily and are victims to pimps, who are organized and can set up multiple locations and sales easily. Fox also noted that in Missoula this spring seven people were arrested in a two-day sting, where law enforcement agencies posted ads as an adult female prostituting a 12-year-old female.


So that question again, as to why an apparent good kid, from a solid family would participate in such a crime? Todd Palmer, the public information officer for this district of the FBI explained that this is an easy way for consumers to purchase goods. There could be several reasons that someone might participate in such an act, but the ease of the way the goods are offered makes it simple for someone to solicit.

 

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