December 21, 2006
Madison County investigators have arrested their second alleged internet predator in a month, and this time the accused is a Virginia soldier.
The man accused is Romer Bayona. He is a 45 year old United States Army soldier based at Fort Eustis, Virginia. Bayona was arrested after allegedly trying to lure a police officer posing as 14 year old girl.
An online sexual predator investigation by the Madison County Sheriff's Office came to an end Wednesday. Officers pecked away at their computers for more than four months until they were able to sting the person they were looking for.
"He thought he was speaking to a 14 year old female, but pretty much we had an undercover officer carrying on conversation with him," said Madison County Sheriff Erik Weaver.
Allegedly leading the conversation was Romer Bayona. The staff sergeant faces federal charges of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity based on evidence.
"He was giving sexual pictures of himself, and other young girls and boys," added Sheriff Weaver.
Bayona serves in the Army as an instructor at the the Aviation Logistics School at Fort Eustis.
The soldier is used to taking orders from a commander, but now he will see what it is like to take order from a judge in federal court.
"They will give him an opportunity to plead guilty, or at the time request to have a court-appointed attorney, or hire his own attorney," added Sheriff Weaver.
As a civilian, Bayona would have faced up to only six months in jail if found guilty, but because he is a member of the military he faces no less than five years, and no more than 30 years behind bars.
Evidence from Bayona's house includes computers, CDs, pictures, and video which could lead to more charges after being analyzed.