COVINGTON -- A 20-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the sexual assault of a teenage girl, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
NCSO Public Information Officer Deputy Courtney Morrison said Bret Micheal Wilfer, 20, of 140 Oakland Drive, was arrested on Aug. 4 and charged with statutory rape, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes and first degree cruelty to children.
The arrest and charges stem from an incident that allegedly occurred on July 12, Morrison said.
NCSO investigators learned that the 15-year-old female met the man at a party and the two began talking by phone as well as on Facebook.
"On July 12, the female left her residence on the premise that she was going for a walk," Morrison said. "Her dad figured it out and called authorities."
Morrison said she would caution parents not to allow youngsters Internet access in any private area, including their bedrooms.
"That includes a laptop. We all know about convenience, but, no," she said.
She also advised parents to start conversations with their youngsters about Internet safety.
"That's something this day and time we all need to talk about," she said.
Also, she said many parents are not aware that there is tracking software available for about $100 that will allow them to see for themselves what their children are accessing on their computers.
"It actually tracks every key stroke, website, e-mails, text messages and even passwords on these social networking sites," she said, adding that many underage teens are lying to get onto certain sites.
In other crime news, Charles Lamar Shoemaker, 43, of Covington, has been arrested and charged with child molestation, aggravated child molestation, cruelty to children, sodomy, aggravated sodomy and aggravated sexual battery.
Morrison said the NCSO received a tip from an anonymous caller who stated a person was being molested at Shoemaker's residence, but left no other information.
Authorities at that time were not able to make contact with anyone at the residence, although the Department of Family and Children's Services and the NCSO Criminal Investigations Department were notified. They collaborated on the case and discovered that a 10-year-old female had been molested, resulting in Shoemaker's charges.
A Danielsville man was arrested after he allegedly arranged to meet and have sex with a young girl in Newton County.
Morrison said Wayne Andrew Crider, 58, of 1665 Highway 98, made contact with someone he believed to be a middle-school-aged girl in a chat room on the Internet.
"But he was actually corresponding with an undercover investigator with our Sheriff's Office," Morrison said. "Through the Internet he allegedly spoke of sex acts (with the investigator) and ultimately ended up traveling to Newton County to meet the 'middle school-aged girl.'"
Morrison said the details of where Crider allegedly arranged to meet the girl are being withheld in order to protect future investigations.
Crider has been charged with sexual exploitation of a child and enticing a child for indecent purposes, according to the Sheriff's Office.