Registered sex offender faces 25-year prison sentence after being charged with multiple sex crimes
POCATELLO — A registered sex offender has been charged with multiple sex crimes after police say he exchanged sexually explicit messages and photos with a teenage girl.
Derick Anthony Alfonso, 33, of Pocatello, has been charged with one count of enticing a minor through the internet and one count of sexual exploitation of a child, both felonies.
Authorities first learned of the sexually explicit conversation between Alfonso and the teen girl when the girl’s father contacted the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office on Feb. 5 to report the content, according to police reports obtained by the Journal.
Deputies responded to the Lava Hot Springs home and made contact with the father, who provided deputies with a white Samsung tablet, police said. The father guided deputies to the Facebook Messenger application installed on the device, which included a conversation between Alfonso and the 13-year-old girl, police said.
The conversation spanned from Jan. 25 to Feb 5. and included sexually explicit content shared by both Alfonso and the teenage girl, police said.
Alfonso, who has been registered as a sex offender since December 2009 resulting from a sexual exploitation of a child conviction in Whidbey Island, Washington, allegedly sent the teenage girl images of his face and genitals, as well as links to pornographic videos, police said. The teenage girl allegedly sent Alfonso images of her nude body showing her breasts and pubic hair.
Further, the conversation included multiple references to various sexual acts sent back and forth between Alfonso and the teenage girl, police said.
Investigators with the Bannock County Sheriff’s Office conducted a forensic analysis of the Samsung tablet on Feb. 7 and requested a search warrant be issued to search Alfonso’s home and seize all of his electronic devices. The detective investigating the case also forwarded the information to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Crime division, police said.
The Bannock County detective handling the case also confirmed with another county detective assigned to monitor registered sex offenders that Alfonso both created the Facebook Messenger profile used to communicate with the teenage girl and matched the physical appearance of the photos he sent to the girl, police said.
On Feb. 11, Bannock County detectives and a detective with Homeland Security executed the search warrant at Alfonso’s residence. Prior to serving the search warrant, Bannock County detectives first met with Alfonso at his work to discuss their findings.
Alfonso told police that he had been connected with the teenage girl for about a year and that he thought she was 14. He said he met the girl in an online chat room, adding that he didn’t know where the victim lives and had never met her in person, police said.
Alfonso told police that he did not know it was wrong to be messaging the girl and said the sexually explicit photos he sent were not of himself but were stock images he acquired from the internet, police said. Moreover, Alfonso said his Facebook profile was only recently created because his previous account had been suspended, though he didn’t know why, police said.
At the residence, authorities seized several electronic storage devices, two laptops, several cell phones and numerous DVDs.
Based on the content shared on the application, Alfonso was placed under arrest and transported to the Bannock County Jail where he is currently being held on a $30,000 bond.
Alfonso is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 26. If convicted of the charges against him, Alfonso faces up to 25 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.