BEDFORD - Police on Tuesday extradited a New Jersey man to Pennsylvania, where he faces nearly 200 charges for exchanging sexual photographs and comments with a 15-year-old Bedford County girl.
The cross-country case extends to Colorado, where investigators first apprehended 38-year-old Edward Gutierrez in a January online sex-chat sting.
Gutierrez of Robbinsville, N.J., was charged in Pennsylvania after Colorado police investigating his phone found photos of a girl in a Bedford High School cheerleader's uniform, according to an affidavit.
The case allegedly began in November, when Gutierrez received an erroneous Facebook friend request from a 13-year-old Colorado girl who'd mistaken him for a young friend. After receiving the request, Gutierrez allegely sent the girl a series of suggestive messages, which prompted her to contact the Jefferson County, Colo., District Attorney's Office.
Colorado detectives created "Jordan," a fictional 14-year-old, to draw Gutierrez to the state, police said. From November to January - the same time he was allegedly exchanging online messages with "Jordan" - Gutierrez was allegedly sending highly sexual text messages to the Bedford County 15-year-old.
Gutierrez flew to Colorado, allegedly for a sexual rendezvous with the fictional teen. Colorado police arrested him on Jan. 18 at a Wheat Ridge, Colo., restaurant parking lot, the Times of Trenton newspaper reported.
While searching Gutierrez's phone for evidence, officers found photos of a teenage girl: some nude, some featuring a Bedford High School cheerleading uniform, police said.
Colorado police contacted their Pennsylvania counterparts after Gutierrez allegedly admitted to the sexual exchanges.
"I think he was planning to meet her," Bedford County District Attorney Bill Higgins said Wednesday.
Bedford Borough police identified the girl and forwarded the information to Colorado authorities.
The Bedford County teen acknowledged the exchanges to police, noting that she had both sent and received sexual images with Gutierrez, police said.
Colorado authorities released Gutierrez without bail shortly after his arrest but ordered him to return for hearings and to avoid non-work-related computer use, the Trenton newspaper stated.
In March, state police in Bedford filed charges for the alleged text conversations: 196 counts of unlawful contact with a minor - most of them first-degree felonies - and a single count of corrupting a minor.
"I found [the texts] to be very sexually explicit in nature," State Police Trooper Matthew Auker said in a criminal affidavit.
Gutierrez was arrested in New Jersey and extradited to Bedford County on Tuesday, state police said in a news release.
Magisterial District Judge Kathy S. Calhoun set his bail at $150,000; he remains in the Bedford County Prison, according to court documents. Gutierrez faces a preliminary hearing Wednesday.