By Conrad Dudderar
A Yukon man who went on a dating app looking for new companionship now finds himself facing up to 20 years in prison for trying to meet an underage girl for sex.
Stefan Michael Rice, 52, was charged Aug. 17 in Canadian County District Court with lewd or indecent proposals to child under 16.
Assistant District Attorney Austin T. Murrey alleges Rice broke the law in July by making an “electronically generated lewd proposal” to someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
The felony crime is punishable by three to 20 years in prison and a maximum $10,000.
Rice, of N Frisco Road, allegedly traveled to Williams grocery store in Piedmont on July 29 to meet in person the underage girl he met online one week earlier through the Tinder social media site.
Canadian County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Cates arrested Rice when he arrived in the parking lot.
Rice was caught in an undercover investigation by the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office.
A sheriff’s investigator posed as a 15-year-old female as Rice and the “decoy” exchanged social media posts and text messages, according to a probable cause affidavit signed by Sgt. Cates.
Rice allegedly initiated the contact on Tinder and continued the conversation after immediately being told he was communicating with a minor.
He later provided his cell phone number.
“Stefan questions the 15-year-old about her ability to sneak out (of her house), advises he wants to stay out of jail and asks when they could meet due to him missing her already,” according to the court affidavit.
Other texts Rice allegedly sent included “I’m no creeper”, “how bout you just climb out your window later tonight” and “I just want to be with you in person.”
When Rice was arrested at the Piedmont grocery store, sheriff’s investigators allegedly found a loaded shotgun, taser, pepper spray, multiple knives, and a police scanner in his Ford F-150 pickup.
Rice, who declined to speak with Sgt. Cates, was booked into the Canadian County Jail. He was released from custody on a $25,000 bond.