Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 24, 2014

Man accused of sending teen explicit text messages

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man is accused of exchanging sexually explicit text messages with a teenage girl.

Jeremy Sargent Whittaker, 39, awaits arraignment in 86th District Court on felony charges of using a computer to commit a crime, accosting a child for immoral purposes and distributing sexually explicit visual or verbal matter to a child.

Whittaker’s arrest came after accusations arose that Whittaker sent a girl, 14, a sexually explicit picture of himself, according to a police report.

Prosecutor Bob Cooney said such accusations require investigators to collect the messages.

“I guess it’s not any different than any other investigation,” he said.

The police report states Whittaker and the victim struck up contact by way of Facebook and then started sending each other flirtatious text messages with their cell phones. Investigators found evidence the conversations began in January and became increasingly sexual.

Court documents state Whittaker and the victim exchanged photographs in February.

The victim had deleted the photographs “because of fear of being discovered” but investigators found evidence of inappropriate conversations during a forensic exam of her phone, the documents state. Cell phone company records also confirmed the text message conversations and picture exchange.

Authorities arrested Whittaker and booked him into Grand Traverse County’s jail on Friday. He remains behind bars on Grand Traverse County jail on a $100,000 cash bond.

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