TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two men are facing multiple felony charges after they tried to meet with who they thought was an underage girl, according to the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office.
Maxwell L. Bergstrom, 32, and Thomas Gideon IV, 31, both face charges of electronic solicitation and sexual exploitation of a child. Bergstrom was already a registered sex offender, and so the sheriff’s office said he faces an additional charge of violating the offender registration act. The arrests came from a Tuesday human trafficking operation in Topeka, where the sheriff’s office said it was trying to find people who were preying on underage children in the county.
During the operation, Bergstrom and Gideon both separately made plans to meet with who they thought was a 15-year-old girl at home alone. When they arrived, deputies arrested them and booked them into the Shawnee County Department of Corrections.
Bergstrom’s sex offender status stems from an October 2009 offense in Johnson County for aggravated indecent solicitation of a child under 14, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections’ offender registry. The Johnson County District Court sentenced him to nearly three years of jail time and three years of probation. He served time in the El Dorado Correctional Facility before going to Lansing Correctional Facility and taking a sex offender treatment program.
State records also showed Bergstrom previously violated the offender registration act in May 2012. Shawnee County Court records list that violation as a felony that went to a jury trial. Bergstrom pleaded guilty in that case, and a judge added on 18 months of prison time on top of what he was already serving for his 2009 offense.