Since December, Homer Police have investigated and charged four men in separate cases involving inappropriate or illegal sexting messages sent by cell phone or on Facebook.
In December, Homer Police charged Michael R. Weidemann, 20, a U.S. Army soldier at Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson, with online enticement of a minor and possession of child pornography. In that case, police allege Weidemann met the girl on a plane and asked her to send him pornographic photos. She sent him one of herself fully nude but without her face visible. Homer Police turned over that case to the Anchorage Police Department because they had primary jurisdiction.
Three other cases involved Homer men who contacted girls through Facebook messaging. One case dates back to February while two other cases are more recent. Charged are:
• Colby Altman, 21, violating a protective order;
• Seth Avery Baker, 18, online enticement of a minor;
• Nickolas W. Thornton, 22, Palmer, second-degree sexual abuse of a minor.
In the Altman case, filed Feb. 6, Homer Police Officer Larry Baxter alleged in charging documents that Altman had contacted a girl under age 16 through a Facebook chat. Altman and the girl discussed getting to know each other better, Baxter wrote. The girl’s parents had reported the incident and let police do a computer forensic analysis of a Kindle tablet the girl used. Baxter is one of two Homer Police officers trained in computer forensic analysis. Baxter alleged that analysis showed Altman and the girl communicated on Oct. 27, 2014. Alaska State Troopers had issued a protective order on Oct. 14 prohibiting Altman from having any contact with the girl.
Baxter also investigated the Baker case. The father of a girl reported he suspected his daughter under age 16 might have been having sex with Altman. The father provided police with a Kindle tablet. Officer Sean Perry photographed messages on the tablet and Baxter said he looked at them. In one message, Baxter alleged Baker tried to solicit a sexual act. Baxter wrote that he later interviewed Baker by phone. Baker admitted he knew the girl was under age 16 and that he had solicited a sexual act, Baxter wrote in the complaint.
Seth Avery Baker is not related to Pastor Seth Baker, a youth minister at Community Christian Church.
In the Thornton case, on March 25 a mental health worker reported to police she overheard Thornton talking about having sex with a girl under the age of 16. In a criminal complaint, Baxter wrote that he thought Thornton was a suspect in a theft case involving two girls under the age of 16. Baxter spoke with the father of one girl, who provided Baxter with Facebook messages between his daughter and another girl. That girl wrote to the other girl that she was pregnant and needed to talk to Thornton about it, Baxter alleged.
Baxter spoke with the girl’s mother and arranged a forensic interview at South Peninsula Haven House’s Child Advocacy Center. In his complaint, Baxter said the girl said she had sex in the woods near the Homer Public Library in the middle of March. The girl said Thornton told her he was 16 and went to high school. She said she told him her age and what grade she was in. She was not pregnant, the girl said in the interview.
As part of city efforts to reduce crime and illegal camping on the library land and on city land in the Town Center, the city since then has had underbrush cleared.
Baxter applied for and got a search warrant for Thornton’s Facebook records. On May 4, police received the Facebook records. Baxter alleged that Thornton exchanged Facebook messages with the girl about her pregnancy. In one message he wrote, “I wish you were a couple years older but we can make it work. Just gotta be discrete about it n sadly u have to deny its mine for things to beable to continue what we have.”
Altman and Baker were arrested. Police requested a warrant for Thornton and said he is believed to be in the Soldotna or Anchorage area. His last known address is in Palmer.