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Amish man, 26, accused of sexting Indiana girl, 12

Associated Press Modified: June 22, 2011 at 2:16 pm •  Published: June 22, 2011

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — An Amish man who sent more than 600 text messages that included lewd images to a 12-year-old girl he randomly dialed was arrested when he arrived in his horse and buggy for what he thought was a meeting for sex, police said.

Willard Yoder, 26, faces four counts of child solicitation after being arrested June 15 in his hometown of Milroy, about 45 miles southeast of Indianapolis. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf during his initial hearing Friday.

Connersville police Detective Craig Pennington said authorities set up the meeting after the girl's mother alerted them her daughter was getting text messages from someone she didn't know. Pennington said the girl turned her cellphone over to her mother and the mother acted as if she were the girl.

"The mother made sure this person understood that this girl was 12 years old," Pennington said.

Pennington said the messages started out innocent, but eventually the man texting wrote that he was a 21-year-old Amish man named Willard and asked the girl if she were horny, to send naked pictures of herself and asked if she wanted to "make out."

Pennington said the man continued to send texts and the mother turned the cellphone over to police. He said the cellphone was turned over to Indiana State Police who found at least 600 text messages were sent, including requests for nude photos and asking if she wanted to meet to have sex.

Pennington said Yoder also sent five pictures and two videos to the girl's cellphone, some of which included naked photos of him.

Police then used the cellphone to set up the meeting.

Pennington said although Yoder was apprehended in Rush County, he was charged in Fayette County because the girl lives in Connersville. Court records don't list an attorney for Yoder. He is scheduled to appear in court July 1 with an attorney.

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