Michael A. Bowman, 40, of Westford, Massachusetts, has been arrested on a Jaffrey Police Department warrant after he supposedly consented to pay an undercover police officer to have sex with a minor.
Bowman was arraigned at the Cheshire Superior Court on March 21, where he pleaded not guilty to charges of trafficking in people and attempted sexual assault. Bowman is currently being held on $50,000 cash bail.
According to an affidavit on file with the court, Jaffrey Police Detective Chris Anderson first came in contact with Bowman on Jan. 21. Anderson, who was working as an undercover police, replied to a Craigslist post in the casual encounters section titled “Taboo like to email and possibly meet.”
Bowman confessed in the post that he actually wanted to talk to and possibly meet with a father who might be interested in allowing sexual encounters with his daughter.
Anderson started to speak with Bowman using Craigslist’s anonymous email system, saying that he had a 14-year-old daughter. Anderson noted that payment would be `mandatory for any sort of sexual exchange between the two, which Bowman consented to on at least two occasions, according to the affidavit.
The discussion between Bowman and Anderson moved from Craigslist to text messaging. Anderson could identify Bowman through the phone number used after asking for a customs subpoena from the US Department of Homeland Security.
The affidavit also noted that there were numerous occasions where Bowman allegedly described sexual and other acts that he wanted to do with the minor.
Anderson made two efforts to meet with Bowman at a hotel, but both efforts were failed. Anderson looked for a warrant for Bowman’s arrest on Feb. 28, according to the affidavit.
Bowman was reported to the Littleton, Massachusetts police department in January for requesting sex from and sending nude pictures to a 19-year-old biological relative by means of text message. No charges have resulted from the report.
Bowman was taken by Jaffrey police on March 20 at the Middlesex County jail in Massachusetts after he deferred extradition.
Craigslist recently shut down the personals section of its website after the passage of H.R. 1865, also known as the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), which opens up platform holders such as Craigslist to legal responsibility for any misuse of the website for sex trafficking.
“Any tool or service can be misused,” reads the website. “We can’t take such risk without jeopardizing all our other services, so we are regretfully taking craigslist personals offline. Hopefully, we can bring them back someday.” (www.ledgertranscript.com)