‘Dangerous…predator’ under $2M bond after targeting children across the U.S., Sheriff says – Queen City News | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey

UNION COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A Monroe man is behind bars again after using the internet to prey on “numerous underage children across the United States,” according to the Union County Sheriff’s Office (UCSO).

Deputies say convicted sex offender, 32-year-old Thomas Long, was arrested in mid-January in an ongoing child exploitation investigation stretching over multiple states. In 2016, Long was convicted of several in-person sexual crimes against minors and was required to register as a sex offender in Union County once released from prison.

In early January 2024, UCSO detectives say they started working with law enforcement in Utah, who said that Long was soliciting sexually explicit images from a child in the state.

According to investigators, a search warrant was issued for Long’s home, resulting in multiple electronic devices used during the exploitation crimes being seized. More evidence is expected to be found on the devices.

Thomas Long (Union County Sheriff’s Office)

Detectives say that, based on the evidence they do have, Long was soliciting explicit material from minors throughout the U.S. Despite being required to tell law enforcement about his online presence, Long was also using several online accounts that he did not report.

Long is charged with the following:

  • Disclosure of Private Images
  • Second Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
  • Failure to Register as a Sex Offender (failure to report online identifiers)
  • Solicitation of a Child by Computer

He is being held at the Union County Detention Center under a $2 million secured bond. Due to this being an ongoing investigation, officials say more crimminal charges are likely.

“[Long] has proven by his actions that he is an extreme danger to the public,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. “I am thankful that our investigative team could work with Utah officials to build a case leading to his arrest.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the UCSO at 704-283-3789 or Crime Stoppers at 704-283-5600. Tips can also be sent through the UCSO app.

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