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Darien man charged in grooming case

WAUKEGAN — A Darien man has been charged after police say he tried to arrange a meeting with sex with someone he believed to be underage.

On June 30, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Special Investigations Group in collaboration with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service concluded an investigation that resulted in the arrest of a man for the offense of grooming.

During the month of June, undercover detectives, posing as a girl under the age of 15, communicated with James R. Wood, 35, of the 7500 block of Farmingdale Drive, Darien. The conversations began after Wood engaged the “girl” on social media, according to a news release from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

After learning of the age of the “girl,” Wood requested nude photos of her and exposed himself to her while using the application, police said. He then proceeded to have graphic conversations with the “girl” and informed her that he was going to travel to Lake County to engage her in a sexual encounter.

On June 30, sheriff’s detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Wood on three counts of grooming (class 4 felonies). He was arrested later that day at his place of employment in Naperville by sheriff’s detectives without incident.

Further investigation revealed that Wood was planning to travel to meet the “girl” to engage in a sexual relationship but could not find the time after starting a new job, police said. Sheriff’s detectives also found Wood recently worked as a camp counselor and substitute teacher in the Darien area.

If you or your child have any information about Wood, please contact your local police department.

We cannot stress this enough – please do not let your children communicate on social media applications with anyone, unless you as their parent or guardian have personally verified it is someone they know,” Sheriff John D. Idleburg said in a news release. “Predators use every day social media applications to prey on children of all ages from all communities.”

Wood was being held in the Lake County Jail on $100,000 bail. He is next due in court on July 26.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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