Public Defender Turned Child Sex Predator

| by Zara Zhi
Daniel StewartDaniel Stewart

A former public defender for Sebastian County, Arkansas has been arrested following an online child sex sting.

47-year-old Daniel Stewart has plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy to engage in sexual conduct with "another person who is less than 14 years of age" on March 19, reports KFSM.

In February, Stewart started communicating with an undercover detective that was posing as a minor online. They arranged for a sexual encounter on March 19 in exchange for money at a Fort Smith hotel.

Stewart believed he was to meet a 42-year-old adult male and his 13-year-old son, but as soon as he arrived, the former public defender was apprehended and his car impounded

The suspect posted an ad looking to contact a “young guy” or “son”, according to the affidavit. At first, the illicit communication was through email, but moved to the Kik messenger app.

"During the chat, the suspect expressed a sexual interest in having sexual contact with both my adult undercover profile and the undercover profile's 13-year-old son," the affidavit said.

The sheriff office’s Internet crimes spokesman Adam Bledsoe said the unit works full time detecting Internet crimes and has made 11 arrests in the past few months within the county.

Arkansas Public Defender Commission Executive Director Gregg Parrish said he accepted Stewart's resignation on March 21.

Parrish said Stewart had 140 to 150 active criminal cases, according to Arkansas Online.

His bond was set at $250,000 and if released, Stewart has to wear an electronic monitoring device and to surrender his passport, chief deputy prosecutor Hugh Finkelstein said after the hearing.

His next court date is scheduled for April 18, according to the Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office.

Sources: KFSM, Arkansas Online / Photo credit: Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office

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