COVINGTON - COVINGTON - An Oxford volunteer firefighter is under arrest after being caught in two separate online sexual predator stings conducted in Ohio, according to the Monroe Police Department.
Covington resident Lewis McClain, 24, of 3449 Ga. Highway 138, is being held in the Walton County jail on seven counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
According to Sgt. John Fitzmayer, Monroe authorities were contacted Tuesday by officials with the New Waterford, Ohio, police. Officers there had reportedly made online contact with McClain during an undercover investigation of child predators, he said.
"On a Web site labeled 'Open Minded Parent,' he chatted with someone he believed to be the father of a 12-year-old girl. It was actually a police officer," Fitzmayer explained.
The undercover officer pretended to be both the daughter and her father during the online chat, during which McClain allegedly arranged to have sex with the girl. "He transmitted to her three photos, which showed a white female in topless and sexually suggestive positions," Fitzmayer said.
McClain also allegedly spoke on the phone with an officer, who used a voice modulator to mask his voice.
McClain operates his own business, Trauma Care Emergency Services Inc. According to Fitzmayer, e-mails that McClain sent contained a signature that referenced his business, which operates out of a post office box within the city limits of Monroe. The business' Web site, www.traumacareems.com, states that Trauma Care has mutual aid contracts with Wilkes County EMS, Union Point Fire Rescue and City of Oxford Fire & Rescue.
Monroe authorities obtained an arrest warrant and placed McClain under arrest Wednesday at the Oxford Fire Department, where he was teaching a class.
"We also executed a warrant at his residence and gathered computers and disks to be turned over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab for analysis," Fitzmayer said.
On Friday, Monroe authorities were informed by the GBI that another undercover operation by a detective of the Fairborn, Ohio, police department had engaged with McClain in similar online conversations, with the officer posing as a 13-year-old girl and her father.
According to Fitzmayer, McClain faces possible jail sentences of up to 20 years - as well as fines of up to $10,000 - for each of the seven counts of sexual exploitation.
Oxford City Clerk Carol Poole said Friday that McClain had served as a volunteer firefighter for the city, adding that he had been with the department for about a year. "He has been suspended as a volunteer at this point, and we have recovered all his equipment that he's been issued," she said.
Colin Stewart can be reached at email@example.com.