Historic City News has been informed that an out-of-state man traveled to St Johns County on Friday evening to commit an illegal sexual act with a mentally ill, teenaged girl at the arrangement of her legal guardian — or so he thought.
An undercover member of the cybercrimes unit of the St Johns County Sheriff’s Office, posing as the guardian, met 33-year-old Stephen Joseph Woods outside a local motel room where Woods had arranged to meet the juvenile girl for sex.
Woods, who resides at 216 Bonaventure Road in Savannah, began an online conversation with cybercrime detectives in the middle of October. As the investigation continues, detectives now believe that Woods may be involved in other online enticement cases.
Over the past few weeks, sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Kelshaw told reporters that Woods solicited the guardian to commit sexual acts against the minor child. “Woods believed that he was communicating with the 13-year-old girl and her guardian,” Kelshaw said. “Woods indicated that he was still interested in engaging in sexual activity with the child.”
Woods agreed to meet the guardian and child at the motel between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Friday evening. He actually arrived at the prearranged location shortly before 7:00 p.m. Woods spoke briefly outside the motel room with the undercover officer he believed to be the girl’s guardian.
Woods was taken into custody without incident.
He is charged with four felony counts to include:
• use of a computer to seduce, solicit, or lure a child
• use of a computer to solicit parent or guardian’s consent
• travel to meet after using a computer to lure a child
• using a two way communications device to facilitate a felony
Woods was booked into the St Johns County Detention Facility; where he remains today in lieu of bonds totaling $400,000.