A 26-year-old Bethesda man admitted yesterday in Carroll County Circuit Court that he drove to Finksburg in February for what he thought would be a sexual encounter with a bored 13-year-old girl home from school with a faked illness.
Todd K. Thompson instead was arrested Feb. 5 by a Carroll County sheriff's deputy who had been posing in an Internet chat room as the virginal but sexually venturesome "Stacie."
Thompson lived in Baltimore at the time of his arrest and arranged to meet the supposed girl for oral sex, Assistant State's Attorney Amy L. Blank said yesterday in a statement of facts agreed to by the defense. He sent his photograph and a description of his car and clothing to the deputy, who was waiting with other officers at a fast-food restaurant in Finksburg.
Thompson told police after his arrest that he "had done this many times. I've met a lot of girls over the Internet," according to Blank. Some he had "done stuff with" and with some he just had lunch, she added.
The prosecutor said Thompson told the police, "Lots of people talk about sex on the Internet. In fact, I'm supposed to meet a 14-year-old this weekend" not for sex but "just to hang out."
After hearing the agreed-upon statement of facts, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. found Thompson guilty of using a computer to solicit sex with a minor. The judge delayed sentencing while Thompson completes a counseling program, Blank said. Although the offense on which he was convicted could be punished by up to 10 years' imprisonment, the prosecutor said the defendant will seek probation before judgment.
Blank said her recommended sentence would depend on whether Thompson successfully completes the counseling program.
Other charges, including one of attempted second-degree sex offense, were dropped, she told Burns.
Thompson's attorney, Jack Quinn, twice asked him during yesterday's hearing whether he was guilty of the crime. "Yes," Thompson said both times.
Thompson spent about a month in jail in lieu of $75,000 bail before being released on unsecured bond to return home to his parents in Bethesda. He was to work for Quinn and enter the counseling program while on a monitoring program.
Thompson had seemed disoriented at the time of his arrest. Quinn said at a bail-review hearing in March that Thompson battled learning difficulties to graduate from high school and had moved out of his parents' home to live alone for the first time just before his arrest.