St. Jo man charged with online soliciting, sex assault of Hopkins County girl, 16

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec 18, 2007 - Sheriff’s officers have arrested a 37-year-old man accused of soliciting a minor in Hopkins County over the Internet, then sexually assaulting her in Winnsboro earlier this month.

Hopkins County sheriff's investigators and deputies found the man as he was arriving early this morning for an apparent rendezvous with the 16-year-old girl.

Instead, Michael Don Armstrong of Saint Jo was taken to the Hopkins County jail, where he remained at 11 a.m. today in lieu of bond on one charge of  online solicitation of a minor. He was also being held on a Wood County warrant for sexual assault of a child.

Hopkins County sheriff’s officers were contacted last week with information that the 16-year-old girl, who has been living in the Pickton area, had been sexually assaulted. 

Sheriff's investigators launched an investigation, and received information that Armstrong had first made contact with the girl over the Internet. 

Authorities suspect Armstrong then arranged to have a cell phone strategically placed for the teen to use, then contacted her via text message to arrange a midnight meeting on Dec. 13.

He picked the teen up that Thursday and took her to Winnsboro, where they are alleged to have engaged in sexual intercourse. He then drove her home, Hopkins County Sheriff’s Investigator Lewis Tatum said.

Winnsboro Police Department was first contacted about the sexual assault, and Hopkins County sheriff’s officers then pursued charges against Armstrong for the online and text messaging contact with the teen.

Warrants were issued for his arrest last week, one in Hopkins County for online solicitation of a minor and one in Wood County for sexual assault of a child. An alert was put out to area law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for Armstrong and his vehicle this past weekend.

Armstrong was found just before 1 a.m. this morning. He had reportedly driven from Saint Jo, located about 50 miles west of Sherman, to an abandoned residence in the area of County Roads 2391 2390, where he believed he was going to meet the juvenile female again.

Instead, he was met by sheriff's investigators Tatum and Jace Anglin and other deputies who took him into custody, according to arrest reports.

Both charges are second-degree felonies. If convicted, Armstrong could face punishments of two to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fines in each case.

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