Man jailed on child sex charges

May 8, 2014
Stephen Dayton

CARMICHAELS – A 27-year-old Ellwood City man was charged Wednesday by Cumberland Township police after he allegedly attempted to meet with two female juveniles who he contacted through Facebook for sex.

Stephen Allen Dayton, 27, of 824 Western St., was arraigned before District Judge Glenn Bates on two counts of statutory sexual assault and five counts each of disseminating explicit sexual materials to a minor and unlawful contact with a minor.

Dayton was placed in Greene County jail on $20,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is set for 2:15 p.m. May 15.

Police became aware of Dayton’s activities April 26 when they were contacted by a parent from Nemacolin who told them a person whose Facebook name was Ryan Grams sent his 10-year-old daughter a picture of his genitals by a Facebook private message, according to the criminal complaint filed by Lt. John Beckus.

A friend of the girl also reported being contacted by private messaging April 22 by Grams. Grams told the girl he was about 14 years old and he made suggestive remarks about how she looked in a bathing suit, Beckus said.

Grams’ messages to the first girl were similarly suggestive, and he attempted to discuss the topic of sex with the girl before sending her the photo of his genitals, Beckus said.

The girl’s parents did not believe the photo was of a 14-year-old boy and they began to message Grams through their daughter’s Facebook account, asking him where he lived and for a telephone number. Grams did not respond and his messages to the girl dropped off.

Beckus said he attempted to find information on Grams from his Facebook postings. The postings indicated he was from the Ellwood City area. His friends were primarily young females.

Beckus received permission from the girls to assume their Facebook identities and began messaging Grams. Grams sent multiple pictures of his genitals and asked the girls for their pictures. He also made several references to sexual acts and what he would do with the girls if they were with him, Beckus said.

Posing as the two girls, Beckus said, he arranged to meet Grams in the Ellwood City area Wednesday. He received assistance from Franklin Township, Beaver County, Police Department, which has jurisdiction in the area.

Cpl. Eli Nye of the Franklin Township Police Department took Grams into custody when Grams was on his way to meet who he believed were the two girls at a local pizza shop. In interviews with police, Dayton admitted contacting the juveniles and sending them pictures of his genitals, Beckus said.

“I’m just happy to get him off the street,” Beckus said Thursday, when contacted about the charges. He also thanked Nye and Franklin Township Police Chief Brian Speer for their assistance in the investigation.

Bob Niedbala worked as a general assignment reporter for the newspaper for 27 years in the Greene County bureau. He received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh.

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