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Man claiming to be Army sniper busted for soliciting child sex

By Walter Geiger A Watertown, N.Y. man who claimed to be a U.S. Army Sniper was arrested here April 26 after he solicited sex online from a sheriff’s deputy he thought was a 14-year-old girl. Michael Ryan Shirk, 27, remains in the Lamar County jail on charges of computer pornography, computer exploitation of a child and online exploitation of children. Lt. Jeremy Roberts was contacted online where he had posed undercover as the 14-year-old girl. Shirk allegedly began a sexually explicit chat with the ‘˜girl’ and sent photos of his genitalia. Photos he sent showed him standing nude in front of a mirror in what appeared to be a military barracks. He claimed to be stationed at Ft. Benning near Columbus for sniper training but his duty station was Watertown. Shirk messaged he wanted to travel to Barnesville for oral sex and later added that he wanted to ‘˜take the virginity of the child’, according to the incident report. A meet was set up at the Barnesville Walgreen’s for April 25. At 5:30 p.m., Shirk texted he was on the way and was bringing alcohol. He arrived in the area at 7:15 p.m. He was directed to a local apartment complex but went to a convenience store to use the restroom and bought two Bud Lights. When he got back on the road, a takedown team stopped his vehicle and he was arrested without incident. His vehicle was impounded. In it were found condoms, the two beers, four bottles of Moscato wine and a shot bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon. Shirk admitted he was here to meet the girl. He said he wanted to meet a young girl to form a relationship early in hopes she would not cheat on him as had happened in other relationships he had been in. Sheriff’s investigators have contacted the Army regarding the incident.

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