St. Charles man charged with soliciting teen over chat app

A St. Charles man tried to lure a teenager into a sexual relationship, authorities said, and was arrested after police took over the girl's social media account and continued to exchange messages with him.Keith Aarseth, 60, was charged with indecent solicitation...

St. Charles man charged with soliciting teen over chat app

A St. Charles man tried to lure a teenager into a sexual relationship, authorities said, and was arrested after police took over the girl's social media account and continued to exchange messages with him.

Keith Aarseth, 60, was charged with indecent solicitation of a minor, unlawful grooming and traveling to meet a minor, officials said, and his bond was set Thursday at $125,000 in Cook County court.

Assistant State's Attorney Maureen McGee said Aarseth began communicating with a 16-year-old Mount Prospect girl through email and an internet site and app called Chatiw.com. Aarseth set up a meeting with the girl on Feb. 15 and told her in a message he would bring sex toys and an 18-year-old woman with him, McGee said. In another message, Aarseth told the girl she was all he wanted for his upcoming birthday, according to the prosecutor.

Before any meeting took place, authorities were alerted to the alleged communications, and a Mount Prospect officer, pretending to be the girl, continued to exchange messages and emails with Aarseth, officials said. He was arrested Tuesday.

Aarseth has worked as a substitute teacher for Elgin-based School District U-46, though authorities said the criminal case against him does not involve any students from that district.

U46 spokeswoman Mary Fergus confirmed that Aarseth occasionally worked as a substitute in the district at the secondary level starting in November, after having undergone a thorough background check.

Officials at his court hearing also said Aarseth has no criminal background.

Chatiw touts the ability to allow users to chat anonymously with strangers.

Aarseth said in court that he is a former Army captain living "paycheck to paycheck." Judge Joseph Cataldo told the defendant he could not contact the girl or use the internet if released on bond while he awaits trial.

Arrest and booking photos are provided by law enforcement officials. Arrest does not imply guilt, and criminal charges are merely accusations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty and convicted.

George Houde is a freelance reporter.

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