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New Market man charged in Va. with soliciting sex from minor

By Brian Englar

Saturday - 2/26/2011, 8:00am  ET

A New Market man faces charges in Virginia of soliciting sex from a person he believed to be a minor in an online chat room, according to the Stafford County, Va., Sheriff's Office.

Christopher Edward Lyerly, 34, is being held at the Frederick County Adult Detention Center awaiting an extradition hearing. Maryland State Police and Stafford County detectives arrested him Thursday at his home.

Stafford County Detective Daryl Wells, posing as a 14-year-old girl on an Internet chat site, was first contacted by Lyerly in May 2010, according to the Stafford County Sheriff's Office.

The two had a total of six online conversations, during which Lyerly described sex acts he wanted performed on him by the teen Wells was portraying, the sheriff's office reported.

Lyerly suggested coming to the Fredericksburg area to meet the girl for sex, according to the sheriff's office.

Wells, a retired Virginia state trooper, specializes in computer forensics, said Bill Kennedy, public information officer with the sheriff's office.

Part of that job is using chat sites in an attempt to identify and catch online sexual predators, he said.

Kennedy said Wells' chat room stings net an average of about 16 arrests per year.

"These people need to be off the streets," Kennedy said. "It could be a full-time job."

Wells also acts as an instructor, working with other agencies in training detectives how to catch Internet sex offenders.

"He's an expert," Kennedy said.

Copyright 2011 The Frederick News-Post. All rights reserved.