IDAHO FALLS — Authorities arrested an Idaho Falls man Thursday after a sting operation aimed at targeting child predators.
On Aug. 12, a Rupert Police detective contacted Idaho Falls Police regarding an “undercover chat” on KIK with a man later identified as 49-year-old Robert LaPier Jr., according to court documents obtained by EastIdahoNews.com. KIK is an online messaging app that authorities say is popular among men looking for child pornography or sexual encounters with children.
The detectives messaged LaPier pretending to be a 14-year-old girl named “Emily.” Almost immediately, the conversations turned sexual, with LaPier repeatedly asking for nude photos and sending pornography over the messaging app, court documents allege.
Over the course of several weeks, the messages continued. LaPier allegedly describes to the victim the sexual acts he wanted to perform with her and says he is “fixed” and “can’t make a baby inside of you.” He then asked to meet up with the girl in Idaho Falls.
The messages stopped on Sept. 15.
Throughout August and September, detectives kept an eye on LaPier and found where he lived on the west side of Idaho Falls. On Wednesday, the detectives received a signed search warrant for his house and pickup truck.
On Thursday, authorities pulled LaPier over while he was driving a tow truck for a local company near Skyline Drive and Whitney Drive. He was taken into custody for interrogation at the police station.
When confronted about the conversations with “Emily,” he admitted to talking to her but that she told him she was 18. After detectives said there was never a mention of her being 18, LaPier confessed to her saying she was 14, according to the probable cause.
“Robert admitted to having sexual conversations with Emily,” the probable cause reads in part. “He also admitted to asking her to send naked pictures of herself and videos.”
Investigators found several conversations with people, including the one with Emily in which LaPier sent naked pictures and videos of another woman. Police were able to track the woman down who said she did not give LaPier permission to send the images.
Authorities booked LaPier into the Bonneville County Jail. He is charged with felony enticing a child over the internet. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 16.
Anyone with information regarding the exploitation of children is encouraged to contact local police, the Attorney General’s ICAC Unit at (208) 947-8700, or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678.